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East County Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018 2 years ago

Players Centre theater sale collapses

Another potential buyer already strikes agreement to buy Sarasota property.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

The Players Centre Board Chair Donna DeFant said the sale of the nonprofit's Sarasota theater at 838 N. Tamiami Trail fell through Tuesday at noon.

DeFant said the buyer — characterized only as an East Coast businessman — failed to produce the money or sign the contracts as agreed upon.

The deal was supposed to close Monday at noon but the potential buyer asked for another 24 hours, a request that was granted.

"All the documents had been signed by us and we complied with all of their six demands in the final 24 hours, including $3 million more in liability insurance, which we purchased," DeFant said. "The buyer defaulted. We did everything we could do. We're done."

Although DeFant said she couldn't reveal the price of the theater, she said previous reports saying it was "more than the $9.5 million listing price" were accurate.

DeFant said The Players had a second buyer in place in case the first deal collapsed, as it did. Although the new buyer doesn't want to be identified until the sale closes, DeFant said he could be characterized as a local businessman.

"We are getting the exact, same price," she said. "It really is a better deal. The new buyer has agreed to let us stay in the building for two years, although I don't know if we need to do that. All this means is just a little delay."

DeFant said the new buyer wants to proceed quickly and has asked for a 30-day due diligence period, or less.

"He is ready to go," she said.

DeFant said The Players had signed the original deal with the East Coast businessman on Jan. 16 and agreed to a four-month feasibility period.  

The Players Centre plans to build a $30 million complex in Lakewood Ranch’s new Waterside Place. The sale of its current theater in Sarasota will allow work on the new theater to begin in earnest.

The Players listed its theater property with Ian Black Real Estate in 2016.



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