University to lease historic Columbia theater [COLUMBIA, Mo.]

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri has agreed to lease a historic Columbia theater that some local preservationists feared would close its doors.

The university announced a three-year deal Thursday with the nonprofit Missouri Symphony Society, the group that manages the 83-year-old Missouri Theatre on Ninth Street in downtown Columbia.

The Columbia Daily Tribune ( ) reports the university will pay $12,000 a month and have an option to buy the theatre for $3.7 million once its lease expires. The university’s share will be reduced by $3,500 since it will receive lease payments from a frozen yogurt shop and the Columbia Art League, which rent portions of the building.

The former vaudeville house reopened in 2008 amid a $10 million renovation but was soon unable to pay its bills. The theater temporarily closed in 2010, only to again open on a limited basis several months later while relying on symphony society volunteers rather than paid employees.

Society board member Carole Sue DeLaite called the deal a “new beginning.”

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