Sitting dormant since September, could the State Theatre be for sale?


Could the State Theatre be up for sale?
Culpeper Times file photo

The State Theatre on Main Street has sat empty since September of last year with news that it was no longer in operation.

Executive Director Steven Barker had left town.

The marquee went blank and no further indications were given as to its future fate.

A letter posted on the doors of the theatre expressed sadness on the part of the directors. The State Theatre Foundation Board, left with debt and decisions to make, has been quiet.

Earlier this week it was learned that the renovated historic property may be for sale.

Andrew Park, a representative from United Country Real Estate confirmed on Tuesday, “yes, we have a client interested in putting it on the market.”

Park was interested in advertising rates in the Culpeper Times.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, United Country Real Estate is one of the leading, fully integrated network of conventional and auction real estate professionals in the nation. It specializes in unique rural properties including commercial properties.

The grand illumination of the State Theatre’s signage lite up Main Street in December of 2012 with a grand opening in the spring of 2013. The estimated $10 million dollar renovation and expansion were touted as all leading to grand things and a sure economic driver for the town and county of Culpeper.

Both of these festive events were followed over the years to its closing by a string of executive directors and marketing folks, fundraisers, programs from film to plays to music venues to hosting the popular Culpeper Has Talent and Pampered Me Pink events. School children attended theatre camps and took classes. Give Local Piedmont used it as their headquarters one year. Under Barker’s hand, a theatre group was briefly formed producing lively performances. The lobby has been filled with artwork from students and local artists. All apparently in vain as revenue could not match expenses.

Since 2013, other businesses located near the State Theatre, like Grill 309 and the Culpeper Center and Flavor on Main, anticipating to share in the new flow of traffic that the theatre would attract. There were evenings when restaurants on Davis Street had pre-theatre attendees dining before seeing a show.

When asked about these inquiries for advertising rates and what that might mean, a current member of the State Theatre Foundation Board who didn’t wish to be named, acknowledged that there have been discussions by the board to put the State Theatre on the market. The member said that large sums of money are currently owed to two principal investors and that they could foreclose at any time. While that action isn’t on the table, exploring selling the property is something that these lenders were agreeable with. Currently in a holding pattern, the member said that there is no animosity between these lenders and the board but a direction they agreed to look at.

When reached for a statement, State Theatre Foundation Board Chairman Jerry Whitlock, said, “we’re sticking with our position, there is no comment at this time.”

About Anita Sherman 145 Articles
Anita Sherman is the editor of the Culpeper Times. You may reach her at