Route 66 News

Bankruptcy filing prevents foreclosure of theater

The trust that owns the Gillioz Theatre in downtown Springfield, Mo., filed for bankruptcy late Thursday afternoon to stave off a foreclosure sale scheduled for today, reported the Springfield News-Leader today.

The historic theater, on an early alignment of Route 66, faced foreclosure over nonpayment of a $3.5 million loan with Guaranty Bank.  The theater reportedly incurred $1 million in unexpected costs, and the recession depressed ticket sales. Also, the state rejected $1 million in historic preservation tax credits.

Landmarks Preservation Trust Board President Dave Roling said the decision to file for Chapter 11 reorganization came after the board made another offer Thursday to Guaranty Bank.

The bank rejected the offer and made a counteroffer the board felt was unrealistic, he said.

“The only tool we have to stop foreclosure is to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” he said. “We had no choice.” […]

Roling said he could not provide information on the amounts of the offer and counteroffer. The information would be available later, he said.

Theater officials had hoped to prevent foreclosure with a fundraising drive this month. They had hoped to get $500,000 to persuade the bank to call off the sale. But only about $200,000 was raised.

The board has until April 29 to submit a reorganization plan to the federal bankruptcy judge.

The Gillioz was built in 1926. The trust led a $10 million restoration of the theater and reopened it in 2006.

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