Altria Theater wants to borrow $1.75 million and gets it

Over $1 million is owed for three years worth of taxes.

Update #1 — October 28, 2014; 8:38 AM

At last night’s city council meeting the council approved the gift of $1.75 million to Altria Theater. But according to RTD even that might not be enough.

Agelasto also said Monday that the council was told by the assessor’s office over the weekend that the theater foundation would actually need $1.95 million to cover its back taxes and next year’s bill.

Agelasto asked what would happen if the proposed transfer didn’t cover the theater group’s tax liability.

“I believe the board is prepared to say that they are happy to go with the $1.75 million that we discussed,” said Grant Neely, chief of staff to Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Honestly, if the bill comes in higher, the risk is on them.”

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Original — October 24, 2014

The city owns Altria Theater. The city leases the theater to Richmond Performing Arts Center, which in turn formed RPAC LC a for profit company. RPAC took advantage of historic tax credits to help with ongoing renovation work. Seems pretty simple so far.  The problem lies in that until recently nobody understood that because the length of the lease exceeded 50 years the lesee is considered the owner and is on the hook for property tax.

Full details at RTD.

According to the city, the group owes $1.025 million on the Altria Theater, formerly known as the Landmark Theater and the Mosque. That figure would cover tax years 2012 through 2015.

For CenterStage, the group owes $725,000, which covers tax years 2011 through 2015.

Representatives from the group told the council’s Finance and Economic Development committee that the requested sum is intended to cover bills that will be received next year.

Councilman Parker C. Agelasto voiced unease Thursday about the situation where the public-private partnership seemed to be “skirting a federal law,” even if that wasn’t the intent.


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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Liberty666 on said:

    Vote out all the city council members who raided the city’s rainy day fund to pay for this. Ticket prices are going up to pay for this and taxes and fees will increase to replenish the rainy day fund. The govt. is not the answer folks.

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