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Forum Theatre building at Douglas, Hillside to be sold to church

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, June 13, 2014, at 12:37 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, June 14, 2014, at 7:39 a.m.

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Janet and Grant Rine are selling the former Hillside Christian Church building at 147 S. Hillside to a local church, but the sale is not expected to interfere with future productions there by the Forum Theatre group.

Journey the Way church pastor Chad Pearce announced through a video on the church’s website Friday that the church was purchasing the building, which currently houses the Forum Theatre. He said he expected to close on the building the week of June 23.

Messages left at the church on Friday were not returned.

Janet Rine, who with her husband, Grant, bought the building in 2009, said they no longer wanted to own the 32,000-square-foot building, which for several years has served as the venue for the Forum Theatre group.

“(We’re) basically needing to downsize,” Janet Rine said. “We just have too many projects, and although we love the theater, we just don’t want any more financial responsibilities. … so we’re liquidating a few things, simplifying our lives.”

She said when they bought the building, they originally intended just to salvage some of its parts because the previous owners were planning to demolish it.

“We were brought in to salvage the windows, and we fell in love with the building and decided to restore it instead,” she said.

“Actually, the theater was an after-thought for us.”

Kathy Page Hauptman, producing artistic director for Forum Theatre, a nonprofit organization, said the plan is to lease space from Journey the Way to continue productions there, including an upcoming production of “The Odd Couple,” which starts July 10.

“So nothing is going to change for the theater,” Hauptman said. “We’ve been working with the church. I think it will be a very nice situation.”

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.

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