The historic Gillioz Theatre in downtown Springfield, Mo., has a new owner, and it’s not the local community college, as expected.
According to the Springfield News-Leader, Springfield resident Robert Low, owner of the Prime Inc. trucking company, purchased the theater that sits on an old alignment of Route 66. Low also signed a lease agreement with the nonprofit Springfield Landmark Preservation Trust, the previous owners.
The theater is expected to continue operating as usual, with the trust board continuing to oversee the theater’s management staff.
The lease agreement will significantly reduce the trust’s monthly mortgage payment, according to a release from the trust board.
Trust board vice president Dave Roling said it was a significant development.
“It took an enterprising businessman, M. E. Gillioz, to build the theater in 1926, and 87 years later another area businessman has stepped up to solidify the future of the theater for future generations,” he said.
Low was not at the news conference that announced the buyout. The Gillioz, deep in debt, had been scheduled for an auction this week and other times in the past three years. Ozarks Technical Community College was reported as one of the parties interested in buying the theater.
The Gillioz opened in 1926, the same year U.S. 66 was certified. The theater reopened in 2006 after a multimillion-dollar renovation.
(Image of the Gillioz Theatre by Lee Harkness via Flickr)