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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