Nearly two decades after designating the Retlaw Theater as an historic site, the Fond du Lac Historic Preservation commission has approved a demolition permit for the building. The commission voted 5-0 with one abstension to review an application for a demolition permit. Fond du Lac Redevelopment Director Dyann Benson says the theater stopped showing movies in 1998 aand the property has been substantially vacant since 2009. In 1997 a Performing Arts Center Ad Hoc committee studied the possibility of converting the theater into a performing arts center, but decided the cost to renovate the property was too expensive. Benson says since that initial feasibility study, the high school performing arts center, and the UW Fond du Lac Prairie Theater were constructed. The Thelma Sadoff Cener for the Arts also completed an expansion. Commonwealth Development wants to tear down the Retlaw Theater for parking and
convert the front of the building into office and apartment space.