With restrictions set by the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering activity at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre, city council Tuesday night approved modifications to an agreement with the venue’s current owners.
The vote, with Councilwoman Sandra Bryant participating remotely, was unanimous.
Last year and going into the new year “has been hard on most businesses,” City Attorney Geoffrey Davis said in bringing up the matter before the panel. “It’s been especially hard on concert venues and theaters.”
The city has had discussions with the owners and the current inability to have shows and events in light of the pandemic as well as how it has hampered efforts to make a profitable use of the venue, Davis said.
As a result of those discussions new terms to the agreement between G&T Holdings and the city were put on the table.
The first modification is all the city and county property taxes due for the 2020 tax year must be paid in full and received by the Halifax County Tax Department before the close of business March 31.
Mayor Emery Doughtie said the estimated outstanding taxes — both county and city — is around $100,000 to $120,000.
The second modification deals with the outstanding amount due on the note and a change in the maturity date to January 15, 2022. The maturity date was this past January 15.
The amount currently owed, a figure which includes outstanding principal and interest is $2,433,192.30
The next modification requires partial repayment of the principal upon G&T receiving federal funding. “(The) lender and borrower understand that (the) borrower is currently seeking funding from various government loans, grants and programs related to lost income and expenditures stemming from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the new agreement says. “Should (the borrower receive any federal, state, or local funding after the execution of this fourth modification and prior to the applicable maturity date … (the) borrower agrees to make a one-time payment to the lender representing 7.5 percent of the total funds received which will be credited to the principal due on the note …”
G&T must also report any and all funds received and must agree to complete needed repairs.
City Manager Joseph Scherer confirmed during the meeting the owners have completed the repairs the city has requested — repairs to the elevator, fire suppression system and a leak.
The only item that has not been corrected is repair of a light DMX desk, which Davis said instead of repairing, the owners want to install a new one.
Davis said the modification to the agreement was the better way to go than declaring owners Thomas and Evon McLean in default.
Declaring the current owners in default would revert ownership of the currently struggling venue back to the city. That would put the responsibility of paying for utilities and building insurance back on the city and would also mean no tax revenue for the city or county to collect on the building.
Davis said following the meeting it is apparent the McLeans want to make the venue work. “If they didn’t want it to work they wouldn’t be having these discussions.”