When former Wilma Theatre owner Tracy Blakeslee decided to put the landmark downtown building up for sale in 2002, it took him five years to connect with a buyer.
Now, just over a month after the theater’s current owners announced their intention to get out of the entertainment business, two potential buyers – including one who has already reached a verbal agreement on terms of a purchase – have shown interest in the property.
While nothing is yet set in stone – or even on paper – both potential buyers seem genuinely interested in taking over the theater and continuing to offer live entertainment, movies and other events, said Rick Wishcamper, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Development Group.
“There is one businessperson from out of town who has been real interested, and a person in town talking about forming a nonprofit” to purchase the building, said Wishcamper, who declined to name either party.
On Sept. 28, Wishcamper’s company announced its plan to sell the Wilma Theatre, an 1,100-seat downtown auditorium built in 1921. Aside from an office in the basement, the theater (which also includes a smaller movie theater, lobby, backstage dressing rooms and other amenities) is the last remaining piece of the building owned by Rocky Mountain Development Group, which bought the entire eight-story building in late 2007.
In the time since, the group transformed the building’s tower into a 34-unit condominium community and divided the basement space, formerly occupied by the Red Light Green Room Lounge, into office spaces. The company also performed $500,000 worth of upgrades to the theater itself, renovating its bathrooms, adding a new sound system, installing a retro-style marquee, and sprucing up other elements of the building’s exterior and interior.
The theater is currently listed for $1.8 million through the real estate agency ZillaState.
Wishcamper said his company has already reached preliminary verbal terms of a sale to an out-of-state buyer with established credentials in the entertainment business.
However, he said it is too early to call the deal sealed. …