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In its present condition, the Casa Linda is worth very little as a theatre.
I would imagine (all things considered) no national credit tenant
would consider going into this center. The owners have lost their
opportunity to have the only two qualified tenants save this landmark.
Considering the tenant allowance that would be required (about $600,000 to $700,000) and necessary repairs to bring the building up to code, the theatre still couldnâ€™t demand more than $50,000 a year vs. 10% at a natural break point. It doesnâ€™t make sense. No prospective tenant will put their own money into someone elseâ€™ problem â€" it would have to be Landlord money, based on Landlord worthiness. So the simple fact is â€" there is NO incentive. Plus, with the theatre closed for six years, it probably couldnâ€™t â€œparkâ€ a theatre with 900 seats +/– even at a 4:1 ratio.
Plus, as good as the Casa Linda was, this location is not far from
Garland which recently saw the North Star 8 close and has two other
theatres operating, but gasping for breath to survive. Most of the U.S.
is ( again ) grossly over-screened like it was several years ago. There will probably be more pain within the next two years as more theatres close. Theatres are, after all, a single-purpose building — not unlike a bowling alley. Expensive to change into something else.
One persons opinion is, when it comes to Casa Linda, these fellows
are just talk â€" and really waiting for a high-rise condo builder or the hospital to need a portion of the Casa Linda Shopping Center
and â€œthatâ€ as they say will be â€œthat.â€
Even though we closed the Casa Linda Theatre six years ago, I continue to get questions from folks who love this old theatre. There seems to be a lot of misinformation about the theatre so I want to take a moment to set the record strait and end the speculation.
1) At the end of primary lease for the Casa Linda theatre in 1990, our options had a termination clause that essentially made the theatre agreement a â€œmonth-to-monthâ€ lease. For this reason, I felt it would be imprudent to continue to install the new seats we had already put into one of the auditoriums. New seats are currently about $118 each plus an additional $3 to remove old seats, $10 to install new seats, and about $3 to remove and dispose of.
2) The theatre did not have balconies. Our number 2 auditorium was the original loge. It was not a stadium or riser auditorium. Because there were no parallel walls, this auditorium had superb acoustics. This auditorium also had two crying rooms that had been modified to accommodate air-handlers when the theatre was cut-up in the 1960s.
3) The Casa Linda was one of the first theatres in Texas to offer patrons 100% digital sound. We consistently spent substantial money on presentation equipment which could be easily removed when the time came for us to vacate this property.
4) The Casa Linda was loosing about $500,000 a year when we took over its operation in 1987. We changed the strategy and operation to a format we felt best served this unique neighborhood. We were profitable within about one month of making the necessary changes and continued to be a profitable first-run theatre for each and every of the twelve years we operated the Casa Linda.
5) We were instructed to leave the Casa Linda theatre in 1999 following the Christmas holiday season. We were directed by the CFO of the McLendon company to remove our personal property, but to remove none of the McLendon property (including letters) following our departure because the McLendon people were having an auction the next weekend to dispose of the equipment from the Casa Linda, the few remnants that were not fire or smoke damaged from the Astro Drive In, and the equipment from Ciello ranch from the late, great Gordon McLendon. This is why the letters were left on the marquee. If there was a buyer of the marquee letters, they were not removed from the marquee and it is my understanding the McLendon people were absolutely forbidden to come back on the shopping center property. The CFO of the McLendon companies was a wonderful, professional lady who was a pleasure to work with.
6) I have been told the McLendon people received three letters of intent to buy the theatre building (which is not a part of the shopping center â€" itâ€\s a privately owned building). The offers were said to be non binding and potential buyers simply walked away from a deal that they felt was not what they wanted to pay for. I would think the McLendon folks would want to keep us in as a rent paying tenant for the last six years, but this wasn’t up to me.
7) The building must be in horrendous condition after six years of no air conditioning and no repairs to a fifty five-year-old roof.
8) Yes, there was room behind the former Omaha Steak House for an additional auditorium. I was restricted from making any changes to the theatre building and the parking was inadequate in the center, so I did not pursue this. I had wanted to make two major changes inside the building that wold have allowed the installation of larger screens. My request to make these improvements was denied.
9) If ALAMO DRAFT HOUSE comes into the Casa Linda, you will find them to be absolutely first-rate exhibitors. They run good, clean and professional theatres and Iâ€\m sure you will find them to be excellent neighbors.
10) WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW? I am always looking for opportunities in theatres. I have a passion for them. So far I have found several, but for one reason or another have walked way from them all. Usually, a closed theatre is closed for a reason. A landlord may want unrealistic rent for an obsolete theatre, or they may want to spend $100 per square foot to convert the theatre to retail and cut it up somehow. Of the five locations I have operated in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, all were losers when I took them over and all were made profitable under my direction. Iâ€\m fiscally conservative and will continue to look for reciprocal opportunities. I have also acted as consultant for two landlords who built theatres for their tenants but that needed a theatre expert on their team to protect their interests. Iâ€\m pleased to say both locations are fabulously successful and one has added 60% more screens. In addition to continuing work on a very complex business plan that I have worked on for the past ten years that will make $ MegaBucks for me and equity partners. I have also been working on a motion picture related design patent. I also did the voice-over for â€œNo More Joy â€" the rise and fall of New Orleans movie theatres. This is a documentary currently available on the internet with proceeds going to help hurricane victims. I canâ€\t keep my foot out of this water.
Theatre being offered by
The McLendon Companies / Tri-State Theatres
Preston Rd @ I-635, 6th floor
The Casa Linda theatre was a quad, not a 3-plex. The “3” on the marquee was part of a protected sign that could not be altered in any way. The chain that operated the Casa Linda until our lease was terminated due to a potential sale of the building was Casa Linda Theatre, Inc. of Plano, Texas.
The correct address for the ASTRO was
3141 South Walaton Walker