Rappahannock News

The shows go on: Culpeper, theater settle lawsuit

- — Maria Basileo

The Town of Culpeper and Regal Cinemas, Inc. have settled a lawsuit over rent and a leasing dispute nearly a year a er it was led.

According to settlement agreement documents provided by Town Manager Chris Hively, Regal agreed to both reimburse the town for lost rent that resulted from closing the theater and legal fees related to the legal action.

A lease addendum from the settlement outlined multiple Constructi­on and Maintenanc­e updates Regal would have to complete for the next 18 months. Some of the updates include new ooring, removing out-of-service/unsafe seats and removing or repairing the exterior marquee.

Other updates like corroded railings and stairs and missing entrance tile have 30 days to be completed.

In October 2019, Regal noti ed the Town of its intention to extend the lease for ve years instead of letting it expire on April 30, 2020.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic began prompting federal and state shutdowns in March 2020, Regal closed the complex subject to the lease in response to the Governor of Virginia’s executive order temporaril­y restrictin­g gatherings.

Regal reopened in late August 2020 only to close in early October, following suit with other Regal’s across the country.

In February 2021, the town noti ed Regal of its intention to declare the company in default for failure to pay rent if it did not pay rent within 30 days. The town also outlined its intention to terminate the lease e ective Feb. 13 due to ceasing operation of the movie theater for a 120 days, a violation of the lease.

Three days a er the noti cation, Regal paid the town $56,951.95, however, the pair disagreed about whether the lease terminatio­n was legal, which resulted in Regal ling suit two days later. The town subsequent­ly led a countercla­im.

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