"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Minion Pro';">The

city of Roanoke Rapids will part with The Roanoke Rapids Theatre

for about half its original worth, once the deal is finalized.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Minion Pro';">In a

unanimous vote Thursday, with only Councilman Carl Ferebee absent,

city council members authorized Mayor Emery Doughtie to sign a

contract, agreeing to sell the troubled venue to Lafayette

Gatling’s GSH Hospitality LLC for $7.1 million.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Minion Pro';">

Doughtie stressed the theater was originally built for $14.2

million, with the remainder of the original $21.5 million bond

coming from start-up costs to get the venue running. This means the

city is recovering about 50 percent of the theater’s original

value, according to those numbers.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Minion Pro';">

“There’s been a lot of discussion about what this offer would be,”

Doughtie said. “In light of the economy, if all of you thought

about something you bought three or four or five years ago,

especially if it was real estate, it probably would not be worth

what you paid for it.”

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Minion Pro';">City

Finance Director MeLinda Hite said the $7.1 million deal means the

city’s debt for the theater is now $12.8 million due to a penalty

for early payoff in the city’s swap payment.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Minion Pro';">If

they are able to refinance the remaining debt with tax-free bonds,

Hite said, the mandatory $1.9 theater emergency reserve would be

able to be applied to the principal, reducing the debt to $10.9

million, but the Internal Revenue Service has not ruled on the

city’s ability to do so yet.