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TOPIC: How Does It Sound?

How Does It Sound? 27 Apr 2005 16:18 #10200

  • izod
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Hi everyone. I'm back and I have a theater in mind. I cannot state its name or location at the owners request, but it is in a college town. It is a single screen theater that seats 700. It is in reasonable condition, and has a new roof, but needs some repairs. The owner also states that it has additional leaseable office space above the theater (I would assume equivelant to the theater length and width, so a good amount). It at one point was owned by Carmike who closed it in the 80s. Its only competition is another small multiplex in town (but not within walkable distance to the school, like this one). We were considering renovating the theater and trying to show first-run and independent (very short life on films, we'll only book what we can keep for a week two, due to the single screen). We're also throwing around the idea of renovating the upstairs area either to small offices, retail, or studio apartments (any of which would help get through slow periods). We would renovate the lobby to include a cafe and concession stand. We were also thinking about putting in a second-hand record/cd store for the students in the area. The whole building is going for ~$400,000 as-is. Think its worth it?
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Re: How Does It Sound? 28 Apr 2005 08:31 #10201

  • jimor
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Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you have not seen for yourself the various areas the owner describes. I would not buy a building I had not seen ALL the areas of first; that would be buying the proverbial 'pig-in-a-poke.' I would also want the services of a professional inspector, much like house inspectors, to give a written assessment (not an appraisal). You should also go to the Tax Assessor's office to learn of its valuation and any code violations outstanding. Any bank you work with may well demand these data before granting a loan to you. Any man at a local business real estate insurance office can give the real market and insurance value of the building, and you should already know its local history from information at the nearest library or historical society. Maybe after you have obtained these data and spelled some of them out here, others can speculate with meaningfulness as to the wisdom of your investment. Best Wishes. Jim
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: How Does It Sound? 28 Apr 2005 09:28 #10202

  • sals
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Make sure the cafe has WiFi--turn it into an internet cafe and maybe add some entertainment...also I wouldn't sell old CD's these days with itunes and Napster around, everyone downloads their music these days.

Good luck!
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Re: How Does It Sound? 28 Apr 2005 12:21 #10203

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Thanks. I have found out that the building cannot be insured for less than $600,000, so that's a good sign. We've given up on the used CD idea for the above reasons. We think that by opening the theater (possibly twinning it), converting the office space to studio apartments, and there are two retail spaces, we might be able to make it. Financing should be easier since the building itself is collateral.
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Re: How Does It Sound? 28 Apr 2005 12:59 #10204

  • rodeojack
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Also remember that, once you start renovating an older building, most towns will require you to bring the remodeled area up to code, if not the whole building. Regarding your thoughts about the upstairs, this could include sprinklers, elevators, ADA and other fire & electrical code requirements. Before you commit to buying what seems like a good deal as it exists, you might want to consider the cost of making the existing structure fit your future needs. That cost would ultimately become part of what you paid for the property... and might provide some explanation why the place is now closed.

You should also check with the city to see if the current closed status of the building might require code upgrades before they'll issue a new occupancy permit, even if you just intend to open the doors and run it as it is. In a theatre we once opened, that's an issue that the inspector clearly had on his mind. It was only because we changed nothing structural that we slid through.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited April 28, 2005).]
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Re: How Does It Sound? 29 Apr 2005 12:13 #10205

  • mixerjv
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As Jack said building codes can be a killer. It's squashed expanding our 4 screen cinema built in 1986. We would have to jump from 5 ladies room toliets to 19, 3 mens to 5 + 4 urinals. And that's keeping the same number of seats!!! There were other problems, the slop of our exsisting theatre is 10%, todays code is 8%, the back exits have stairs, today need to be handicap accessible, and our building codes are based on the 1993 Boca!

And putting another use in the building will probably require 2 hour rated firewalls between the "uses".

Here in MA if you change the economic value of a building more than 50% the entire building must be brought up to code. Further, it only takes a 30% change to have to bring it up to ADA codes.

I would plan on using the building as is until you have enough money for a major renovation.
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Re: How Does It Sound? 29 Apr 2005 16:48 #10206

  • wimovieman
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The $600,000 the insurance company wants it insured for is, in their estimate, what it would cost to rebuild--it has nothing to do with the value of the building that is there. All my buildings just got zapped by that--the isurance company MADE me increase coverage (so they could get more money in my humble opinion) to 3 times the appraised value of the buildings as they stand.
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Re: How Does It Sound? 03 May 2005 07:23 #10207

  • izod
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Yeah, it's not looking good, again. I've got more information:
The land is about 1/3 acre
The theater itself is about 12,000 sq ft (with balcony and lobby)
Entrance is about 300sq ft
About 2000 sqft of first level offices
Another 3000 sqft of upper level offices (we would consider converting to student areas)

I've yet to talk to the appraisers, but I thought I'd give an update.
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