The City of St. Anthony may purchase the Roxy Theater and then sell it to Kent Lott, owner of the Blackfoot Movie Mill who has expressed interest in breathing new life into the property and business.
Built in 1935, The Roxy Theater showed classic movies including “Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” according to their website. It was an operating theater until 1981, where it sat vacant in the heart of St. Anthony, until 1987 when it was renovated as a live production theater. In 1996 the St. Anthony Work Camp donated their time to upgrade the building with dressing rooms, stairs, a bathroom backstage, handicapped seating and utility storage. In 2011 it was once again renovated for live productions and film.
St. Anthony Mayor Donald Powell said the theater’s owner Josh Norman and Lott just couldn’t come to an agreement on pricing and are no longer speaking. Powell said Norman may be inclined to sell the building to the city for a reasonable price if he also got a tax write off.
Powell said he understood that Norman was looking to sell the Roxy for about $150,000 but he acquired the building in 2010 from the City of St. Anthony for $20,000.
Several members of the council felt hesitant to purchase the building without firm numbers on how much it would cost to purchase the building and how much of a tax write off they were looking at. They also wanted a firm commitment (possibly in writing) from Lott that he would not only purchase the building from the city but also reopen the Roxy for business.
According to a previous interview with Lott, he said he would leave the lobby relatively close to the way it looks now and then would put three screens inside. One would seat about 100 people. The second would seat 120 and the third would sit 140 people.
The council felt that the theater was important to the community and found that it would be a valuable asset to the city. The council decided that Powell should speak with Norman about pricing and the tax write-off, acquire firm numbers and a detailed plan and go from there.
Powell said he hopes to have all the details figured out by their next council meeting.