At last week's Gonzales Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) meeting, members heard from Lynn Theatre manager Cliff Anderson regarding a renegotiation of their lease agreement between the two parties. The theater had recently been inconsistent on its lease payments to GEDC and members wanted to know what the status of the venue was.
Anderson is in the theater business, owning movie houses in Hondo and Edna, as well as a a projection business that deals to small town theaters. Beginning in October 2012, he had entered into a leasing agreement to run the theater with an option to purchase the building after 48 months, with the lease being $1,500 per month. Since then, the agreement has been on a month-to-month basis, and members were concerned with several repairs that needed to be conducted on the theater.
While addressing the board, Anderson mentioned several reasons that the theater is not a financially stable as it could be, pointing blame at declining ticket sales — which he said was an industrywide concern — as well as luxuries that moviegoers have come to expect at modern theaters, such as fancier seating and dining options that lures patrons away from Gonzales. He said that the seats in the Lynn weren't designed for comfort.
“It's not really an inviting experience there,” Anderson said.
Currently there are 230 chairs in the theater. When asked how much it would cost to replace them, Anderson said that cheaper plush seats run $35 each, while some fancier recliner type styles of seating run as much as $300 each. He figured that if a retrofit was made, he would place less seats in the theater in order to increase leg room.
Previously, Anderson asked permission from GEDC to remove seating from the upstairs theater in order to install tables for increased dining options. That project stalled due to the uncertainty of his lease agreement, he said.
Board member Tommy Cox asked Anderson what his grand vision of the theater was. He replied that he would prefer ownership of the building, which would allow him the freedom to install a larger screen, among other items.
“But I have a hard time investing that on my part with a month-to-month lease,” Anderson said.
The board requested to see a plan of action from Anderson, as well as a tour of the theater to get a sense of what could be done to improve the movie going experience. Anderson agreed that it was a good idea, and all involved expressed an interest to see the theater continue to serve the community.