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City could purchase Ritz

Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace said Monday the city is working with the McMillan family to possibly purchase the Ritz Theater downtown.

Lovelace said at the last council work session there was discussion about potentially relocating the Provalus project to downtown instead of at the Dogwood Hills location.

So far, the city has secured some $8.3 million in grant funding for the Provalus project.

Currently, the Provalus operation is located in a building on Belleville Avenue next to Trustmark Bank.

Lovelace has been talking to building owners and merchants downtown about securing downtown buildings for the Provalus project.

He said that his plans are to get the figures for building at Dogwood Hills and the figures for renovating and buying downtown.

“I don’t know the numbers yet,” he said. “But I’m trying to cover every possible situation. Then, I’ll add up all the numbers and see which will cost us the most. I have more to discuss with the tenants.”

Lovelace said there had been talk of having a museum or art gallery, and the Ritz already has a stage.

Lovelace told the city council that the McMillan family would also include a home at 1600 Belleville Avenue in the purchase of the Ritz.

“It could be used as a wedding venue,” he said.

Lovelace said at the previous work session that Provalus officials has been in a meeting with Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.

He said then that there had been a verbal OK for Provalus to go downtown.

“We’d have to redo the project agreement,” Lovelace said. “But it wouldn’t affect the grants.”

Lovelace said Provalus locating downtown would be much better for the city of Brewton.