Community Gives Input on Use of Byron Carlyle

North Shore

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Community Gives Input on Use of Byron Carlyle:

Meanwhile, current operators get default notice

The discussion about the future of the Byron Carlyle Theater collided this week with contract violations by its current occupant, O Cinema. As City staff was preparing for a community charrette to gather ideas for its future use, the Theater’s operators received a notice of default.
 
O Cinema is nearly 3.5 years into a five-year contract to manage and operate a motion picture theater. The operators are also permitted to have live theatrical entertainment, as well as private and corporate events and receptions. A food and beverage concession is also allowed, “including reasonably price beer and wine (subject to obtaining the requisite licenses for the sale or service of beer or wine)”, according to City Manager Jimmy Morales in a Letter to Commission.
 
In December, the City sent a notice of default after an audit revealed O Cinema failed to obtain a state license for the beer and wine sales, failed to pay its City resort taxes and State sales tax, and failed to satisfy the City’s insurance requirements.
 
Last week, the City issued a Failure to Cure Defaults notice and, as a result, O Cinema is now in default of the contractual agreement. In his letter, Morales wrote, “As the foregoing issues – failure to remit taxes and the unlicensed sale or service of alcoholic beverages – raise serious concerns and implicate basic compliance with law in connection with the management and operation of a City-owned facility, it is my intention to exercise all remedies that may be available to the City, which may include the termination for cause of the Agreement.
 
The building itself is in bad shape. At last month’s City Commission meeting, City Director of Tourism, Culture and Economic Development Eva Silverstein said, “More than 50% of the building is condemned. It’s really in poor condition … Only a very small portion of the building is currently in use with O Cinema.” Originally built as twin theaters, only one is in use today.
 
Commissioners voted to proceed with an information gathering process to determine the community’s priorities for the Theater’s future use and what the market is willing to deliver. The building is included in the North Beach Master Plan as one of the prime catalysts for the area’s revitalization. In addition to the charrette, a Request for Letters of Intent (RFLI) will be issued to gauge development interest.
 
Silverstein said nearly 75 people turned out at the charrette to give further feedback on the ideas that were included in the Master Plan. Among those were a cultural arts facility, a higher ed facility, and a business/tech startup hub. She said the group at the charrette, made up largely of local artists, prioritized the cultural arts aspect. “They wanted to make sure that the space that’s traditionally been used as a cultural arts space … that it has some component of arts, dance, music.” It potentially could become a mixed-used live and work space a la The Wolfsonian, she said.
 
There were some mixed messages, including comments such as “Don’t turn it into a Starbucks” and “Don’t build a monstrosity” while others asked for a Trader Joe’s or other retail stores.
 
Silverstein said the dialogue will continue. “We are dedicated to reviving this area in thoughtful conversation with the residents.”

The RFLI is expected to go out in another week or two and will include the community’s priorities as desired options. 
 

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