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Local News

Rialto Square Theatre looks at office sale, third-party managers

JOLIET – The Rialto Square Theatre board is considering the sale of office property and bringing in third-party management.

The board met in closed session at the end of its meeting Wednesday, apparently to consider both matters as well as progress in the search for a new general manager.

Rialto officials made brief comments about a potential sale of two buildings adjacent to the theater and consideration of third-party management companies to run operations before going to closed session.

Board Chairman Dan Vera said the Rialto has received inquiries about Two Rialto Square and the Terminal Building. The two buildings are located north of the theater. Neither one is part of the Rialto building that houses the theater and also has office space.

All three buildings are owned by the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority, the formal name for the Rialto board, which also owns the Rialto. The board is not considering a sale of the theater building, Vera said.

“We’ve had a couple of inquiries but no offers,” Vera said, when interviewed before the board went into closed session.

The board in October agreed to seek appraisals on the two buildings.

It’s not the first time the Rialto board considered the possibility of selling the buildings. The board had the buildings appraised in 2007 before the real estate market collapsed.

The appraisals were on the agenda at a meeting of the board’s Real Estate Committee on Wednesday. But committee Chairman James Smith called for a closed session to discuss the matter.

“This does involve possible negotiations or conveyance,” Smith said.

Third-party management

Vera said at the Wednesday meeting that the Rialto is hearing from potential third-party management groups.

The matter arose when board member Mary Beth Gannon asked if the Rialto had received a proposal from Ron Onesti. Onesti is president of Onesti Entertainment Corp., which produces concerts and special events at venues nationwide, including the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Vera said the Onesti proposal arrived two days ago and is one of four that the Rialto has received.

“There are third-party groups that are interested in the theater,” Vera said.

The city of Joliet had previously contacted a potential third-party manager, and Mayor Bob O’Dekirk had wanted to make a presentation to the Rialto board. O’Dekirk later said there would be no presentation but that Vera was taking the possibility of third-party management under consideration.

GM search

In the meantime, interviews have started for the Rialto general manager job, Vera said.

The Rialto is searching for a new general manager since a separation agreement was made with Randy Green in April.

Vera would not elaborate on the candidate search and said the matter would be discussed in closed session.

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