Perhaps changes at downtown's Granada Theater will return this historic building to a position of community prominence.
The announcement that the Granada Theater has changed ownership and will be renovated surely is welcome news for people who care about Lawrence's downtown.
One part-owner has bought out the other and plans to close the bar at 1020 Mass. on Aug. 4 for renovations. It's unclear when the facility might reopen, but it's highly doubtful that the work will take more than six months. The establishment is exempt under a grandfather clause from city regulations that require downtown businesses that sell liquor to do at least 55 percent of their business in food, but it could lose that exemption if it is closed for longer than six months.
Mike Elwell, who has reached an agreement to own the bar, isn't saying what he plans to do with the building, but most who have been in the Granada recently would agree that almost anything would be an improvement. It's sad to see a theater that was part of Lawrence's heritage in the Granada's current disreputable condition.
The Granada also has been the scene of some notable fights and unruly behavior in recent years. Whether it's the acts the bar books or simply the crowds it attracts, the Granada has not been known as a particularly savory or safe place to be late at night.
The ownership change presents an opportunity to return the Granada to its role as a community asset and gathering place. Hopefully, the renovation will set the stage for a brighter future for this historic building.