War of words between Angelika and landlord

August 30, 2010 4:57:50 PM PDT
Houstonians are reacting to the sudden closure of the Angelika Film Center. A lot of people were caught off guard by the sudden closure of the unique theater that usually features independent and foreign films. We've found the closure could also have an impact on other businesses in the area around the 500 block of Texas Avenue where the theater is located.

Customers continue to show up at the Angelika, shocked to find the doors locked. The theater claims it has been evicted, but both the Angelika and its landlord are keeping quiet and pointing fingers at each other.

A good movie keeps the audience wondering what's next, and like a film, the abrupt closure of the Angelika Film Center has left patrons in suspense.

"It was a total surprise to me because last time I was here it was pretty vibrant, it was on a Friday night, it was a lot of people," said Robert Gatling.

"The community loses the benefit of having a place like this here. Of course, it's sad," said Ed Rothberg.

The sign in the window of the 13-year fixture at Bayou Place tells visitors they've wasted a trip, but like a mystery movie, there are no conclusive answers.

The theater says: "The Angelika's lease has been terminated by the Angelika's landlord."

But Bayou Place blames the tenant saying: "We had hoped they would stay longer, but unfortunately after saying they would commit, Angelika changed its mind."

The unexpected plot twist leaves neighboring businesses like a restaurant worried about the loss of customers. A valet parking business owner says theater patrons make up 80 percent of his income.

"For valet it's really bad. Slow business. Very slow," said valet parking owner Reza Yagwvi.

Cindy Reinhart, who does PR for films at the theater, is also inconvenienced. She was there three days ago.

"I'm surprised. I had talked to the people at the theater I had just screened there and no clue. I have movies opening there in a couple of weeks. We don't know what's going to happen to them now," said Reinhart.

Visitors tell us the A/C had been broken in the lobby for months, which could have something to do with the closure.

"We know that the whole motion picture theater industry has been challenged and the economic times play into this," said Bob Eury, Executive Director of the Downtown District.

But Eury, who worked on Bayou Place, is holding out hope for a new tenant soon.

"It's a very crucial corner of the building," said Eury.

Angelika management says it is pursuing alternative locations in Houston and that its battle with Bayou Place is in arbitration.

If you were left in the lurch by the closure, the Angelika is offering refunds for things like gift cards and advance purchase tickets. They sent a release, saying, "The Angelika Film Center management apologizes for the inconveniences inherent in any forced closure. For Angelika Houston patrons who would like to seek a refund for (i) Angelika Gift Cards and/or Angelika ScreenSavers that are still valid and/or (ii) Advanced Tickets purchased for upcoming films, please contact the following: Angela.Espinosa@readingrdi.com or 323.213.4988. For any other inquires about the closure please contact the Angelika management at 888-668-4605 or angelika.houston@readingrdi.com."

More on the Angelika Theater


Load Comments