BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) UPDATE: Lawyers for landlord, Blacksburg APF Partners say Frank Theatres Cinebowl & Grille has paid some of the money owed.
Here is the statement from their lawyer:
“We can acknowledge that on Monday, May 1st we received funds delivered on behalf of the tenant applied to the significant arranges that the account has reflected for many months. This payment brings the tenant balance due to $492,500.01, not including other charges and costs.” said Nate Kiser, president of Chrysolite Management Group, LLC which manages First & Main.
“We look forward to continuing to hear about this situation from all interested parties in the coming days,” said Kiser.
ORIGINAL STORY: Movies are rolling and popcorn is now ready at Frank Theatres Cinebowl & Grille in Blacksubrg. Managers flipped the switch to the power moments after the building was re-opened after a three-day lock out.
A Montgomery County judge ordered the landlord to let them back in after he says an attempt to evict the company was handled poorly.
It was a sigh of relief for Frank Theatres. The doors opened at 4 p.m. on Friday and for the first time since Monday, cars were starting to fill the parking lot again.
The second the key turned and unlocked the door meant a victory for Frank Theatres. Managers walked through the building to check theatres, concessions and bowling alley, making sure everything was ready to open back up.
"It's been interesting going through this process but looking forward to being back open we have several great movies coming out we have a great staff that's coming back," General Manager Ryan Clawson said.
It's been a long week for employees: first confused, then frustrated and unsure about their jobs. Clawson welcomed them all back.
"We had a lot of communication with our staff, let them know that we were going to be back open. They were prepared and we've definitely had our management team ready and getting everybody ready for opening," Clawson said.
Outside signs were put back in their place after the landlord, Blacksburg APF Partners, ordered them to be taken down on Tuesday. They claim Frank Theatres owes $450,000 in rent and ignored several letters warning them of the late payment.
"Unfortunately a lot of people were impacted by the action we took, not the least of which is, is the ownership group. Hopefully now we have their attention," said Jeff Mitchell, a lawyer representing Blacksburg APF Partners. "We've had more productive conversations with the tenant and their representative in the last 48 hours than we have in the last 48 months. We are absolutely sorry that it had to happen but we wouldn't do anything different."
We learned Frank Theatres will start working to pay back the rent and wants to stay in place long term. The landlord has a plan B if the theatre can't uphold its promises.
This issue isn't over. There are two court hearings scheduled next month that may decide the theater's fate.