When the Rex Allen Museum (RAM) Board meets this evening, it will have another offer on the table from the Willcox Historic Theater Preservation, Inc. (WHTP) to buy the theater.
The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., today, Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Brass Rail, 1190 W. Rex Allen Drive.
In a letter addressed to RAM President Alfred Telles, WHTP President Gayle Berry called the Sept. 15 offer “substantially what was discussed informally” between representatives of both entities on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
She asked that, in considering this latest offer, the Museum Board keep the following in mind:
“The Museum operated the Rex Allen Theater for many years, because the Museum’s Boards during those years felt it to be an integral part of the mission of the Museum, and because there was vast benefit to the community in which the Museum operates,” Berry said.
“WHTP will invest $70,000 to $80,000 in the Theater, consisting of $50,000 purchase price, plus $19,000 in previously estimated repairs, plus up to $10,000 in repairs due to further deterioration in the Theater” since WHTP’s Aug. 15 offer, she said.
“The Museum can accept the $50,000 offer and be the deciding factor in putting the Theater into operation,” Berry said.
“In effect, the Museum would ‘contribute’ any gap between the $50,000 of this offer and the Museum’s estimate of the Theater’s value (for example, this would be $10,000 to $15,000 if the Museum’s estimated value of the theater is $60,000 to $65,000).”
“By doing this, the Museum would bring to a successful close its many years of commitment to the Theater, and in a constructive way ensure the continuation of the Theater’s great benefit to the community.
In return, the Museum will receive substantial financial benefits, with an initial cash infusion and regular payments over several years, allowing it to establish and retain a secure financial footing,” Berry wrote.
In addition, the Museum has no money at risk, and in a worst case scenario of WHTP failure, the Museum receives back a building in good repair, with a greater value than it currently has, she said.
The proposed purchase offer addresses the possible insolvency of either corporation.
The Museum’s insolvency would result in WHTP acquiring the deed of trust for the theater note for $1, “in lieu of all future payments otherwise owed.”
WHTP’s insolvency would result in the Museum acquiring full rights to the theater building and contents with no further monies owed by the seller, Berry said.
“The Board of WHTP hopes you will give due consideration to the course of action that best balances the benefits to the community of having the Theater operating again and to the Museum of ensuring the continuation of its legacy of Theater support,” Berry said in her Sept. 15 letter.
The offer states that the purchase price of the Theater “including all contents” is $50,000, and that $3,000 will be placed in escrow after the Museum signs the offer.
WHTP will make 84 monthly payments of $400 beginning at the fifth month after the purchase contract is signed.
Payments are based on an interest rate of three-percent for a balloon mortgage.
At month 89, WHTP will make one final payment of $21,030.90 to the seller.
The stipulations are that there will be no pre-payment penalty assessed if WHTP pays the remaining principal at any time before month 89.
“Seller will provide surveyed and deeded permanent unencumbered access to theater entrance for any and all theater purposes via Windmill Park to include buyer’s use of the kiosk (ticket booth),” the proposed purchase offer states.
As seller, the Museum will hold the title/deed until principal is paid.
Reference is also made to a “health hazard,” saying “the theater building must be inspected for mold by a certified inspector prior to signing of a purchase contract.”
“Presence of mold in the building will void this offer if the estimated remediation exceeds $10,000.”
The proposed offer states that it becomes “null and void in 10 business days from date of presentation,” and that any fees placed in escrow will be returned to the original parties.
“Signing this offer will set in motion the re-opening of the theater,” Berry said.
“If the Museum Board has a counter offer instead, please provide that to WHTP in writing.”
During the Call to the Public portion of the Sept. 17 Willcox City Council meeting, Telles told the council, “We have been working with them (WHTP). We’d still love to get the theater open.”
“We’re not asking for the sky in the price of the building,” said Telles, explaining that the Museum Board does not feel that the amount offered so far is sufficient.
Telles’ remarks were in response to a presentation made by Berry at the Sept. 4 Council meeting.
The Theater group is made up of Berry, Vice President Gary Clement, Treasurer Kurt Edelman, Terry Rowden, Carol Adcock, Ron Berry, Debbie Sunderland, Angela Fuentes, and Peggy Ottens.
Those interested in joining may contact Carol Adcock at (520) 384-2082 or Terry Rowden at (520) 384-3371.
Cochise Credit Union has a box available for monetary donations, or they may be mailed to: Willcox Historic Theater Preservation, Inc., P.O. Box 217, Willcox, Ariz., 85644.
The Museum Board is currently accepting letters of intent for an open position, to be filled at this evening’s meeting.
Those interested should go to the Rex Allen Museum to pick up an application, or call (520) 384-4583.