River Oaks Theatre likely to close despite further negotiations

Landmark's River Oaks Theatre, shown in 2020 amid the forced closures after the COVID-19 outbreak, may soon close permanently. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Landmark's River Oaks Theatre, shown in 2020 amid the forced closures after the COVID-19 outbreak, may soon close permanently. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

Landmark's River Oaks Theatre, shown in 2020 amid the forced closures after the COVID-19 outbreak, may soon close permanently. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

After new negotiations offered some hope that the historic River Oaks Theatre could be saved, a statement from the owner suggests time has run out.

“After lengthy negations, Landmark Theatre and Weingarten were not able to reach an agreement. Therefore, Landmark Theatre has no choice but to close its doors effective next week. No definitive date has been set. Landmark Theatres would like to thank the Houston community for their years of support," the March 19 statement reads.

A day earlier, the Los Angeles-based theater firm said it had conceded some ground to Weingarten, which owns the property at 2009 W. Gray St.

"We are making progress, however, Weingarten insists that during a substantial period of the extension term that Landmark pay the same rent prior to the pandemic. The pre-COVID rent reflects a different world that does not address the realities of today or the foreseeable future. Landmark has also offered to pay an additional percentage rent to allow Weingarten to come close to the pre-covid rent," it said.

Weingarten has said the theater has missed rent payments for a year but offered Landmark the option to pay back the balance over two years.


A spokesperson for Landmark did not know the whether the company sought Payroll Protection Program loans amid the pandemic, including funds made available through the Save Our Stages act that extended grants of up to $10 million to theaters starting in December.

Databases for the PPP program, which is administered by the Small Business Administration, do not show any entries for the River Oaks Theatre, Landmark Theatres or its owner, Silver Cinema Acquisition Corp. In addition to covering the cost of retaining employees, PPP loans could be forgiven when used for rent as well as payroll.

By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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