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Downtown Demolition Projects To Continue
A demolition bucket loader separates the metal from wood debris next to the Del Rio Theatre building and Reeds Garage. Renovation work inside the theatre continued last week during the razing of the garage structure on the corner of Third and Topeka streets. Ric McGinnis/The News

A little noise, a little dust and a landmark of sorts came down in downtown Riverbank this past week.

It’s going to be part of the larger Del Rio Theatre renovation, but last Thursday saw the end of Reed’s Garage, a long time fixture on the corner of Third and Topeka streets, near the Fire Hall. The Del Rio complex, including the theatre, restaurant and store fronts, is on the corner of Third and Atchison (Highway 108).

The city had big plans for the complex when the Riverbank Redevelopment Agency purchased the buildings and Reed’s property 10 years ago. Before it was condemned, several community theater productions were presented, along with a talent show, a murder mystery dinner show, gospel concerts, and a Christmas Formal for the high school.

The last time the auditorium was used, it was an art show and sale.

Difficulties with the building were discovered and it was padlocked.

The last thing the RDA decided to do was to tear down all but the facade of the buildings so that the iconic marquee could remain. The agency board voted to spend its last money to carry out that plan, but Governor Jerry Brown decided to take over all the Redevelopment Agencies in the state.

In the intervening decade since that happened, there’s been a search for someone to purchase the property.

The new owner began demolition of the interiors of the theater and adjacent restaurant and store fronts to allow an architect to see what he had to work with when designing a remodel.

That work started on Tuesday, Aug. 16, and has continued since. Last Thursday, Sept. 1, complete demolition of the shell of what was Reed’s Garage on the corner of Third and Topeka ended in piles of debris, divided into metal and wood. The rest of the day was spent loading it, along with some from the interior of the theater, on a truck to be hauled off for disposal.

A demolition crew chief has said the garage will come down all the way to the dirt, to be paved over and added to parking space for the renovated and rebuilt Del Rio.

It has been said the facilities will become a piano bar, where the restaurant operated, and a banquet hall.