Man Who Saved Fox Theatre: 'It Wasn't Worth It'


ATLANTA - The man who has lived in Atlanta's Fox Theatre for more than 30 years as its caretaker may soon have to find a new place to live.

Joe Patten's original lease with the Fox allowed him to live there rent-free for life.

But Monday, the theater's board of directors voted to terminate Patten's original lease and offered him a new one that would allow the 83-year-old to stay as an "at will" tenant. That means either party could terminate the lease at any time.

The man credited with saving the Fox from demolition, and then a fire, said he has no plans of signing the new lease.

"Well, I mean, I made a serious mistake in saving this building on my part. It wasn't worth it," he said.

Patten said he hopes the board will reverse its decision.

Without signing the new lease, he has 90 days to leave the Fox.

The Fox Theatre issued a statement on Monday that said, "Atlanta Landmarks Inc. has offered Joe a new occupancy agreement to remain in his apartment. The full board has authorized the Executive Committee to negotiate this agreement. The Fox's generosity is consistent in this agreement and he will continue to be able to live at the Fox rent free, and the Fox will continue to pay the majority of his utilities as we have for the last 31 years. It appears that Joe has been misinformed by his advisors. To be clear - Joe is welcome to live here as long as he is able."

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