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Plans rolling for Royal T III Theater

Monday, November 1, 2010

The owner of the Riviera Theatre in Sioux City is working with local planners on the possibility of reopening the Le Mars movie theater.

Eric Hilsabeck, who has been involved in restoring several older movie theaters, has made an offer to purchase the Royal T III theater.

He has also been working with the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation (LBIC) on plans to restore it.

According to a letter to the Le Mars City Council from Neal Adler, director of the LBIC, designs to renovate the theater are complete, cost estimates have been gathered, and a purchase agreement is in place.

The total cost to restore the historic downtown building and update the theater will be more than $700,000, Adler stated.

Along with private dollars, bank loans and LBIC assistance, planners are seeking a grant or forgivable loan of $150,000 from the city council.

A smaller request for funding will be made to the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors as well, Adler stated.

The city council will decide whether to approve the request during its noon Tuesday meeting at the Le Mars City Hall's council chambers.

Also during the meeting, the council will decide whether to approve a one-year lease and liquor service agreement for the Willow Creek Bar and Grill with Mike Fiddelke or Orange City.

The new lease reduces rent from $30,000 to $24,000 and a requirement to be open at least 24 hours per week is eliminated. The lease states the facility will be open for scheduled events and rentals.

They will decide whether to sell right of way on Second Avenue Northeast by Lally's Eastside Restaurant to Tom Mullally. Doing so would save the city long-term maintenance and repair costs, plus the right of way would become taxable property.

Council members will decide whether to approve the Business Highway 75 storm sewer and intakes project as fully completed, they will hear and decide whether to approve the annual Floyd Valley Hospital audit report and they will hold a public hearing on the rezoning of JR's Addition.

The council meeting will end in closed session for pending or imminent litigation and collective bargaining.

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Willow Creek Bar and Grill. Can someone pull up the city council meetings? Remember Kathy was going to lease it and then the good old boys decided it was best if Mike Fiddelke received the facility instead. Now the City is going to receive 6,000 less in rent .. . why doesn't this matter to anyone?

-- Posted by senora on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 1:18 PM

In response to Senora and Retired.... As someone who frequents the golf course and understands what it takes to run a golf course bar and grill properly, I just want to commend the job that Mr. Fiddelke has done out there. Everything from the overall service to the events that he puts on throughout the year. All of these things are something that was lacking with previous management and I don't think would have been fulfilled if Mrs. Schwader would have gotten it. Nothing against her, but with Mr. Fiddelke's experience running a golf course and bar it benefits the customer's experience to have him running it. I don't want to speak for everybody but all we wanted out there was someone who provided good service and a few events here and there, not a wine bar or fancy food. Mr. Fiddelke has provided that. As far as the rental agreement, that is between him and the city. He has the right to ask for that and in my opinion, he should receive that lowered rental agreement if it means him sticking around and being able to run a business properly and actually making a decent profit for all the work he puts into it.

-- Posted by Hawkeye80 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 2:23 PM

I concur with Hawkeye80. Mike has done a fantastic job and hope he receives his new contract. The past year at the golf course was a great success.

-- Posted by Le Mars Resident on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 2:35 PM

It's only $6,000.00, this comedy council can blow a lot more than that. Could be money shall be say under something. If he is doing such a great job and making more money I would think you should most likely raise the rent.

-- Posted by one4theroad on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 7:02 PM

Just b/c a business is making money (and I am not sure what or if he did) does not validate raising rent. The rental amount should soley be based on what type of facility the manager has not how successful he is. According to your ( happydays and lemartian)thinking then any profitable business that has success should see increases in rent. That is not how things work. And with prime business months from March thru October (And that is being generous) that would be $3750 a month in rent at $30K. That seems more than enough to me. I would like to see other restaraunts facilities that have to pay $3750 a month and compare. I guarantee theirs are quite a bit better and actaully have a full commercial kitchen which the golf course does not have. This type of venture is different than your normal, year-round restaurant. And if you reply back saying that he should stay open during the winter months then that is ignorant as well, because if the people arent there then it is not smart business to stay open and pay to staff it.

-- Posted by Hawkeye80 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 9:38 PM

Ignorant as well? I recall that during the off season, the plan was to have it available for special occassions and could compete with local restaurants for business (another option of a place to go). As far as the rent, it didnt express the reason for the decreased rent nor why they would eliminate the 24 hr/week requirement. I think Kathy would have done a fine job with it as well. I believe Mike has done well with the place. Guess the city doesn't need the rent money?

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 12:35 AM

How many landlords raise the rent from $1000.00 one year to $2500.00 the next? Little excessive if you ask me, especially for someone starting a new business.

-- Posted by Le Mars Resident on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 8:24 AM

Why is everybody arguing about the rent amount that actually brings in money to help cover costs on that building? Did you all miss the big point of the article? Adler is asking City taxpayers to hand over $150,000 to help get the theater going again. Personally, I think having a theater back in town would be great, and at $700,000 it will certainly be like a "new" facility. BUT, this doesn't seem like the place to spend tax dollars.

-- Posted by FoodForThought on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 8:29 AM

It would be wonderful to have a theatre in Le Mars. It would be great to clean up that building front, after all it looks pretty pathetic especially now that the building next door, LeMars Dialysis, has under gone a transformation. But, how long will it take to recoup the investment in the theatre, remember the only people supporting it will be mainly Le Mars residents. Unlike years of the past, Sious Center and Orange City residents/college students have their own facilities. A chunk of theatre revenue was based on dollars spent by Westmar students and faculty. Most homes didn't have satellite dishes and cable. How affordable will this be for the average family? Obviously the investors will need to make a profit. Sorry to sound somewhat apathetic but $700,000 with $150,000 from the city. Figuring in cost over runs it will be more than that. I sincerely hope the investors can shoulder the loss on this project. I know the residents of Le Mars can not and should not.

-- Posted by mrsminiver on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 9:42 AM

On an added note, what did the city of Sioux City give Eric towards the restoration of the Riviera Theatre in Sioux City? Just curious.

-- Posted by mrsminiver on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 9:48 AM

Trying to save downtown Le Mars is an uphill battle that won't happen. We are becoming a bedroom community and we might as well except it. We have NO leadship showing us the right direction we should take. Have you heard of a great idea out of comedy council at anytime??

-- Posted by one4theroad on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 11:45 AM

The city is walking on a very slippery slope. If they give a forgivable loan to this project where does it stop? Every business in town that wants to renovate their building will be (and should be ) lined up to get the same treatment.

-- Posted by Baddog on Thu, Nov 4, 2010, at 8:44 PM

I agree Baddog. Where do you draw the line with forgivable loans to a private enterprise. How many others in this community, long time residents, would be able to get something going if they were granted $150,000 in forgiveable loans. This is not property owned by the city of Le Mars. It is not a non-profit organization. It is not a historical preservation project. It is what it is...a privately owned, for profit, free enterprise. Now that the city council has opened up this can of worms, they might as well go into the bait business.

-- Posted by mrsminiver on Fri, Nov 5, 2010, at 12:53 AM

Well it could make sense if the theater is run like the Riviera is run- i.e., a "cheap seats" theater...the movies come a little later and are also a little cheaper...also you don't bust your bank trying to have a snack in there. Also, am not sure where you've been, happydays, but LeMars has always been a bedroom community.

-- Posted by TuesdaysGone on Sun, Nov 7, 2010, at 3:28 PM

ohhh and before anyone takes offense to the "bedroom community" label, out of you and your closest 10 friends/neighbors in LeMars, how many regulary go to Sioux City or elsewhere : a)to shop b)to eat c)for entertainment d)to work...that's why...

-- Posted by TuesdaysGone on Sun, Nov 7, 2010, at 3:30 PM

Followers look just as useless as their leaders. If you are so upset with how the city is run then uprise and find someone who will do it. That's why it's a democracy.

Then again, it's easier to spew your ignorant arguments through a computer screen.

Now, which thin skinned whiner wants to report my post this time?

-- Posted by Unanimous on Tue, Nov 9, 2010, at 1:07 AM

Ok, lets get a few things straight on this deal. First, the money the city has committed to this project come from three different sources. None of it comes from the City's general fund. And $125,000 is in the form of a forgiveable loan.

Here are the details if interested, $25,000 in the form of a facade grant from the Main Street program. Many of the buildings in Le Mars have benefitted from this program already. Next, $50,000 comes from the unspect Hotel Motel tax money. Which is money granted to projects that didn't happen or didn't require 100% of the funds appropriated. $75,000 of it comes from the Local Sales Option Tax that all of us Le Mars Citizens had the right to vote on. And of course passed.

So, bottom line is that not one penny of your property tax money is going to fund this project. Now if you want to argue about the philosophy of government financing of a private enterprise different story. Let's not get overly worried about the precedent this particular deal sets because the precedent has been set many times over here in Le Mars.

Now lets look at this as an investment because the city will recoup it's money (assuming its citizens patronize this theater as opposed to leaving town) in the form of sales tax revenue (Local option sales tax) generated from ticket sales and concessions. If the projections are met we will generate approximately $37,000 in LOST money each year, as Council Knapp estimated at the council meeting.

So there you have more information on this deal. Is it a good one for the community? Maybe know you have additional information to form your opinion with.

-- Posted by tiredofrhetoric on Wed, Nov 10, 2010, at 5:23 PM

I feel the sad thing is where was this money and support for the previous owner when he was obviously struggling? ...or perhaps I am unfamiliar with the whole story...

-- Posted by new in town on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 8:39 AM

I agree, new in town, another case of the "upper crust" LeMars syndrome...so funny because they're all the same yet some of them think they're above...I challenge any of them to go somewhere else and see they're bottom rung. Cool.

-- Posted by TuesdaysGone on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 11:59 AM

I am very excited about having a theater back in town. This serves another population of people whose interests are different than golfing. We seem incomplete for a town of our size without a theater. Someone had said to me how dirty the theater was....I wasn't there for the cosmetics, once the lights went off, and the movie started, it became another world, for the length of the showing, that was relaxing. Check out the price of gas, and the price of tickets and snacks, if needed, in other areas. I will be at the theater, with grandchildren, to have them experience art in their world. I am very excited it is being reopened. Hopefully it will be supported by our community.

-- Posted by pisces43 on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 8:39 AM

Well if the comedy council doesn't spend the money on renovating the theater, they will give it to Langle for more of his "QUITE WASTEFUL" ideas! By the way Mr Langle, are our garbage rates going down since we are going to only get once a week pickup?

-- Posted by jwduke01 on Sat, Nov 20, 2010, at 11:39 AM

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