GEDC talks selling of Lynn Theater


During a special city council meeting, Tuesday, June 21, the council approved awarding a bid to a third party to market the sale of the Lynn Theater by the city of Gonzales and the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation, with hopes for potential future revenue being recouped.

The council approved the winning bidder, awarding the contract for listing the property to Lisa Grove, with Phyllis Browning Co. Jackson Properties and Garen Shae Reese were also considered to help sell the property after having submitted proposals.

The movie theater has been vacant since July 2020 and is currently not on the city’s tax roll, according to GEDC executive director Jennifer Kolbe. The GEDC currently owns the building, allowing for no current property tax enforcement, which changes with privatized ownership.

“If somebody has a business in there, it has the potential to create jobs and generate sales tax,” Kolbe stated.

GEDC received three proposals and Phyllis Browning Co. had the highest rating out of the three companies. Kolbe explained the company had a “robust marketing program” and worked with cities with many other historical buildings, like San Antonio, Fredricksburg and Boerne.

Kolbe explained GEDC didn’t go with a local broker because they wanted to cast a broad net of “professional real estate companies.”

Any company, either inside or outside of the city, can submit a proposal; with no requirement to fill a bid if the company is or isn’t from Gonzales.

“It's really common in government that you do a request for proposal or you go out for bids if it was something you were selling,” Kolbe said. “And so that's the proper way to make sure that you're selecting a really qualified company to do the job.”

The building had three owners prior to GEDC owning the property, with Kolbe mentioning the previous tenant didn’t fulfill their monthly lease obligation for several months.

GEDC handed out loans three times in conjunction with lease-purchase of the building and all have defaulted; at this time, there is no support to do any finance or lending again, but there are grant opportunities, Kolbe said.

“There are grants available for anybody who buys it. We have a very robust Main Street Grant program, and they can always apply for a property improvement grant to make any improvements and those grants are up to $52,000 each,” Kolbe stated.

The list price for the building is currently $499,000, a price suggested by Grove and not by GEDC.

“She did market research on similar buildings sizes and other markets that have sold, so she used comps and information that she had gathered from credible sources,” Kollbe said.

The GEDC hopes to have a tenant that has a thriving business that brings in jobs and revenue to the city.

“The Economic Development Corporation is all about job creation, and making Gonzales better every day,” Kolbe said. “So, anybody that goes in there [the Lynn Theater], we hope that, in addition to, like I said, paying their bills and following code, will be a good citizen downtown, somebody that creates an attractive environment for downtown.”