State Theatre receives no bids at foreclosure auction

Paul S. (Chip) Bliley Jr., attorney for law firm Williams Mullin, requests bids for the State Theatre Friday outside Culpeper Courthouse. No bids were received and the future of the building remains in limbo.
Photo by Ian Chini

The State Theatre remains in limbo. At a foreclosure auction for the renovated historic theatre Friday, no bids were submitted.

According to Paul S. (Chip) Bliley Jr., attorney for law firm Williams Mullin, the theatre could go up for sale again later this year. He said he was going to return to the investors and see how they want to proceed. “I’m not sure what they’ll end up doing,” he said. “They may end up hiring an auction company. This is not a usual foreclosure.” The State Theatre has been shuttered for almost a year, and investors were attempting to collect on the debt they were owned.

Investors from Rappahannock County, identified only as Melbell, LLC., and another unnamed couple were looking to recoup $5 million they invested in the 500-seat theatre.

According to Bliley, all that was needed was a $250,000 deposit to make a bid and there was no minimum bid. A potential buyer could have bought the theatre for $250,001. Instead a group of about 15 people listened as Bliley opened the bid and about 15 seconds later closed it as no one stepped forward.

Until it closed Sept. 14, 2016, the theatre was led by a volunteer board of directors headed by Jerry Whitlock (chair), Joseph Wills (vice chair), Gary Lee (treasurer), Elizabeth Hutchins (secretary), Alex Forte, Chris Hamilton, Don Haight, Mike Hudson, Octavia Yates, and Joe Grills (board advisor).

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Jeff Say is the editor for the Culpeper Times. He can be reached at jsay@culpepertimes.com