Theater prop­erty sale to sup­port eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler bkeeler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @by­bob­keeler on Twit­ter

SOUD­ER­TON » The ex­act uses for the money Soud­er­ton Bor­ough gets from sell­ing the Broad Theater prop­erty aren’t yet known, but the money will be set aside for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment pur­poses, of­fi­cials said at Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil’s Nov. 13 work ses­sion meet­ing.

The bor­ough be­came the theater’s owner af­ter

pre­vi­ous owner Broad En­ter­tain­ment LP de­faulted on a $500,000 loan made to it through the bor­ough us­ing state grant money and there were no bid­ders

on the prop­erty when it went to sher­iff sale ear­lier this year.

If the loan had been re­paid, the money would have been re­quired to go into a bor­ough fund to cre­ate a re­volv­ing loan fund for fu­ture eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects.

The bor­ough now plans

to do the same thing with the money from the sale of the theater, Bor­ough Man­ager Mike Coll said.

One of the ways the money could be used is for gap fi­nanc­ing — loans given to help fill gaps be­tween the fi­nanc­ing and loans a prospec­tive new busi­ness has and the amount needed to do the project — coun­cil mem­ber Jeff Gross said.

The money could also be used for bor­ough eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment work, such as ex­pand­ing a park­ing lot, he said.

“It’s all about re­vi­tal­iza­tion,” Gross said.

Un­der the orig­i­nal plan, in­ter­est pay­ments on the loan were planned to be

used to help fund Soud­er­ton’s por­tion of Soud­er­ton-Telford Main Streets, coun­cil Pres­i­dent Brian Goshow said. Those in­ter­est pay­ments will not now be re­ceived, but some of the money from the sale could be used for Main Streets fund­ing, he said.

At its Nov. 6 meet­ing, the coun­cil ap­proved a $250,000 bid from Davood and Da­vide Sowhangar, the fa­ther-and-son own­ers of Broad Street Pizza, to buy the por­tion of the theater project in the ad­join­ing build­ing to the theater. They plan to move Broad Street Pizza into the build­ing, along with hav­ing other com­mer­cial uses rent

part of the build­ing.

Dis­cus­sion of the spec­i­fi­ca­tions for putting the theater it­self out for bids will take place at a work ses­sion in Jan­uary, coun­cil de­cided at the Nov. 13 work ses­sion.

In Oc­to­ber, Kyle Hoff, who has re­stored old in­dus­trial build­ings in­clud­ing the one in which Broad Street Grind opened ear­lier this year, out­lined plans to re­store and re­open the theater. The plans in­clude con­nec­tions to the ad­ja­cent build­ing and busi­nesses there, Hoff and the Sowhangars have said.

In a sep­a­rate mat­ter at the Nov. 13 meet­ing, Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Steve Coll said this year’s Christ­mas

dec­o­ra­tions in the bor­ough will in­clude new 6-foot-high snowflake LED lights.

The dec­o­ra­tions were pro­vided by the bor­ough’s Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict, Mike Coll said.

A work or­der has been put in with PPL Elec­tric for ad­di­tional elec­tric fix­tures for the new lights, Steve Coll said. He said he’s not sure yet when that work will be done, so he doesn’t know if all 32 of the new snowflakes will be up this year, but the bor­ough al­ready has a dozen of the fix­tures that were pre­vi­ously used for cedar tree hol­i­day light dec­o­ra­tions.

There are also 20 new ban­ners, he said.

BOB KEELER — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil has an­nounced pro­ceeds from the sale of the Broad Street Theater will sup­port eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects in the bor­ough.

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