Lease Dispute Could Close St. Louis’ Fox Theatre

A business dispute imperils the future operation of the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Grand Center, perhaps as soon as next year, according to claims made in a lawsuit. But another party says it could take over and continue operations.

The Fox, a St. Louis city landmark crafted in the Siamese-Byzantine Baroque style as a movie theater, dates to 1929 and now hosts Broadway and other performances, with upcoming shows including My Fair Lady, Hairspray and Hamilton.

But according to the lawsuit, which was originally filed last year, the iconic theater is situated upon two pieces of land owned by different entities. The theater’s owner, Fox Associates LLC, has leased land from the other property owner, Foxland Inc., under a 99-year ground lease that expires in January 2025. Fox Associates pays $40,000 per year to Foxland, court records show.

With the lease set to expire, Fox Associates claims in court records that it has sought to either extend the lease or purchase the land from Foxland in order to continue operating the theater. But so far, it said those efforts have failed because rather than basing a deal on the value of its real estate, Foxland wants to be compensated “for a portion of the value of Fox Associates’ business” or be allowed to purchase its business outright. Fox Associates, in the lawsuit, said its business is not for sale.

Fox Associates is asking St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Joan Moriarty to rule that it may purchase the disputed Foxland property for $1 million-plus an additional amount to be determined by appraisers.

And the Fox could close at least two years prior to the expiration of the lease, in January 2025, “because Broadway shows — a main staple of the entertainment offered at the Fox Theatre — often are booked two years in advance,” the suit claims.

Even a night at the theater can up with unforeseen drama because legal disputes like this one are EVERYWHERE. And when those things negatively impact YOU and/or YOUR business including bankruptcies, landlord/tenant matters including unlawful detainers, contract issues, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in your good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

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