Roanoke Rapids To Sell Troubled Theater

Roanoke Rapids has tentatively agreed to sell its troubled theater to a Chicago businessman whose previous deal was terminated because he didn't make payments.

The city has agreed to sell the Roanoke Rapids Theatre to Lafayette Gatling, who signed a $12.5 million lease-purchase agreement in 2008. By April 2010, the city had voided the agreement because of late payments.

City attorney Gilbert Chichester says Gatling's new deal with the city requires full payment of the purchase price in cash before closing.

The terms of the new deal weren't disclosed pending final signatures and final city council approval.

Roanoke Rapids borrowed $22 million in 2005 to build the theater. The city signed the brother of entertainer Dolly Parton to manage and perform at the Randy Parton Theater. But that deal soured.


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  • by Chuck on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:49 AM
    Never should have built this in Roanoke Rapids to begin with. Stupid decision by city or county gov.; This town in not a resort area.SEll the property at a loss & Move on.
  • by Homewrecker Location: RoRap on Nov 16, 2011 at 08:27 PM
    hey, how many times did Hank Jr show up drunk or George Jones. RR leaders over reacted. it was doing real good and had the best house band. now it sits as a sad reminder of all that could have been. it was suppose to put us on the map. yeah it did. Joke of the east coast. i hope they get cash up front or a bank draft and no more iou's. what we really should have built was a Bass pro. I'm sure for 22 million we could have....
  • by oh well on Nov 16, 2011 at 04:11 PM
    If the city tried to do nothing they would have been wrong as well. Cannot win em all.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 16, 2011 at 01:07 PM
    Would make a nice community theatre...bring some culture to the area... but then again, it is Roanoke Rapids... so nevermind.
  • by VA on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:00 AM
    Its a beautiful theatre in a great location. It was doing well when Parton was running it. Then the city decided to fire him because he "drank too much" and thought they could do a better job. Leave it to the city of RR to royaly screw it up. Anyone with any kind of business & marketing sense could make that place successful. Case in point: the first decision they made was to change the name to "The Roanoke Rapids Theatre". Wow, that's creative & catchy. How many city council member sat around a table and came up with that? Maybe its never gonna be the next Dollywood, but it could be a great smaller live music venue. Places like the Dunn center in Rocky Mount & The National in Richmond manage to keep their calendars booked with great acts that sell tickets but can't sell out a stadium. I hope it sells to someone who can make it successful. Good to hear the city is selling it. Everything they touch turns to dirt.
    • reply
      by oh well on Nov 16, 2011 at 04:13 PM in reply to VA
      WOW! you are a real winner I bet. Please..tell me what is it that you have done thats so awesome.
  • by Thomas on Nov 16, 2011 at 07:14 AM
    The problem was that the people who created this awful mess had nothing to lose when things went wrong. If they were personally invested this never would have happened.
  • by DP Location: eastern n c on Nov 16, 2011 at 06:31 AM
    Your rite REM. We quickly turning into a 3rd world country. Didn't think the theater would work from day one it was a big snow job and a few dummies fell for it and the poor working man has to foot the bill. You can't fix stupid.
    • reply
      by oh well on Nov 16, 2011 at 04:14 PM in reply to DP
      MONDAY MORNING QB!!!!
  • by The Bargain Store on Nov 16, 2011 at 06:30 AM
    Yeah, let's sell it to the guy that couldn't make the payments. I'd suspect that "Hin Su Cho" might be a more likely candidate.
  • by Shirwood on Nov 16, 2011 at 05:40 AM
    The poeple here took a gamble and it did not pay off. Sometimes that happens in the bussiness world.
    • reply
      by Chuck WireWiggler on Nov 16, 2011 at 07:55 AM in reply to Shirwood
      Sorry Shirwood, the people didn't take a gamble. Paid off politicians made seriously bad decisions with the people's money(and they should be held accountable). If this was to be such a great idea, private investors would have ponied up the money. We shouldn't build such large venues. Municapalities should stick to city parks etc.
      • reply
        by says u on Nov 16, 2011 at 04:09 PM in reply to Chuck WireWiggler
        I live here in the city of RR and YES the people wanted this. It was gonna save us all. So AGAIN yes the people here, as a whole wanted it. When it failed the Monday morning QB such as yourself started up and here we go again Btw, where do u hail from, Northampton?
        • reply
          by Chuck WireWiggler on Nov 16, 2011 at 07:14 PM in reply to says u
          I guess if you voted for it you got what you asked for. I still think gubment should not risk taxpayer's money on venues like this. If it is "such a great Idea" let investors kick in the money. If it floats the guvment can make money from levies and taxes from the event. Def. not for Northhampton.
  • by Anonymous Location: Halifax on Nov 16, 2011 at 05:23 AM
    so true "REM" government has no business in private marketing. The people of Halifax County has to pay for silly decision someone else made to try to make themselves look good. This was a big mistake from the start and it has proven this over the years. County officials didn't do there home work on this deal. If they had they would have known that Mr. Pardon has open theaters in other states that ended in closing the theater and the towns went bankrupt. Think about it.. if it was so great why didn't his sister get in on this deal. Everything she has open has done very well. Mr. Pardon got his money and living well...but the people of Halifax County has to live poor so he can live rich. Some county officials is living rich as well from this deal. The county officials that made this decision: how can you look at yourself and know what you have done to Halifax County.
    • reply
      by Chuck on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:55 AM in reply to
      Should have let Parton alone.His sister Dolly's contacts could have kept the shows coming with good acts that would sell out the house. Some entertainers that are big names but are not as popular as in the height of glory are still touring & Would love to get gigs/Shows for income.
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