The Rialto Square Theatre board unanimously approved local real estate developer John Bays’ bid to buy its Two Rialto Square building Thursday.
“It’s a great day for the Rialto!” board Chairman Robert Filotto said Friday.
Bays agreed to pay $350,000 for the building, which had been used to generate office rent revenue and offset the costs of running the theater. But only five tenants are left after a burst water line in the summer damaged most of the space in the larger building.
“I think this is a great opportunity for the theater to move forward on its own,” Filotto said. “It allows staff and the board to focus on theater operations and not have to be concerned about managing real estate, capital and repair issues that come up.”
Filotto said the loan issues, which had threatened to tie up the building’s sale also worked themselves out.
Busey Bank holds a loan taken by the Rialto to remodel space in its main building, which is separate from Two Rialto Square, for the University of St. Francis, which moved in in 2008. The loan used leases from the Two Rialto Square building as collateral.
But Busey agreed to allow the Rialto to keep approximately 65 percent of the sale’s proceeds and restructure its debt in reasonable terms, Filotto said.
“The bank really stepped up. They came to the table ready to help us,” he said.
Both parties would like to complete the sale as quickly as possible. Bays has been vocal about turning his newly purchased space into a boutique hotel.
“We’re absolutely thrilled he was a bidder; he obviously has a great track record in downtown Joliet,” Filotto said. “When he says he’s going to do something, he does it.”