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Wollaston Theatre purchased by supermarket owner

Quincy’s Wollaston Theatre has been bought by supermarket owner Michael Fang, who says he has no plans for the site and promises to consult with both city officials its neighbors. Quincy’s Wollaston Theatre has been bought by supermarket owner Michael Fang, who says he has no plans for the site and promises to consult with both city officials its neighbors. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/File 2008)
By Jessica Bartlett
Globe Correspondent / February 2, 2012
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The Wollaston Theatre in Quincy has finally been sold after years of controversy and false hopes surrounding the property.

According to Land Deed records, the property was transferred from previous owner Yvonne Chandler to Weston-based BNW Realty LLC on Jan. 25 for $600,000.

Miao Kun Fang, also known as Michael Fang, is listed as the manager of BNW Realty in the records. Fang also is the owner of the C-Mart Supermarket, and is trying to put one of his stores in North Quincy, an issue that will be revisited in Quincy City Council in the coming weeks.

Fang said he hasn’t decided what to do with the theater but would like community input.

“I don’t have the plans right now. It was just a great deal to buy it at that price,’’ Fang said. “I think the best way to do it in the future is to talk with the city and the neighbors and community, and we’ll figure out the right way to do it.’’

The deal came as a relief to Chandler, who has been trying to sell the property since 2008.

“It’s been for sale for a long time - well, they finally found a buyer and my attorney came by, said they had a buyer and everything is OK,’’ she said.

Chandler and her late husband, Arthur Chandler, purchased the theater in 1979, and closed it for repairs in 2003.

However, renovating the beloved community theater proved too expensive for the Chandlers. Selling the facility proved equally difficult.

“We thought it was going to happen, it just took time,’’ she said.

There was hope in 2009, when Mayor Thomas Koch attempted to have Street-Works Development LLC purchase and fix up the building.

However, that prospect proved too costly for Street-Works, which is the developer behind the $1.6 billion redevelopment of Quincy Center.

City officials estimated that it would cost $6 million to $7 million to rehab the theater.

“The mayor made a good-faith effort to put a hold on the theater . . . those efforts didn’t materialize over the last couple of years,’’ said mayoral spokesman Christopher Walker.

“At that point, everyone knew the sale of the theater was anticipated,’’ Walker continued. “Wollaston is a vibrant hub now . . . we expect whatever comes of the theater that the property will play an integral role in the future of Wollaston Center.’’

Walker said the mayor had no regrets about the process.

“Obviously, it’s not the perfect scenario,’’ Walker said, “but the mayor stands behind what the city did originally in trying to protect it.’’

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.

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