Roanoke Theatre To Be Sold
The city of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., has tentatively agreed to sell its troubled theatre to a Chicago businessman with troubles of his own.
A previous agreement to sell the 1,500-seat
Gatling’s new deal differs because it requires full payment of the purchase price in cash before closing, city attorney Gilbert Chichester said. Other than that, terms of the new deal weren’t disclosed pending final signatures and city council approval.
Once the city council approves, a 10-day window opens for other bidders to top Gatling’s undisclosed offer.
Roanoke Rapids borrowed $22 million in 2005 to build the theatre. The city signed the brother of
Mayor Emery Doughtie told WRAL-TV Nov. 21 that Roanoke Rapids would take a loss on the theatre and the city still owes $19 million for it. By selling, the city can refinance the remaining debt to make it more manageable, he said.
“The theatre currently costs taxpayers $100,000 a year just in operating expenses,” he said.