Friends of the Chief has new plan to finance theater purchase |

Friends of the Chief has new plan to finance theater purchase

Michael Schrantz

The Chief Plaza Theater, operated by Carmike Cinemas, is closing its doors Sept. 6 in downtown Steamboat Springs. The lease for Carmike Cinemas is up Oct. 1, and the early closing date leaves the company time to pack up.

— Friends of the Chief has a new plan and might be closer than ever to closing — for good this time — on the Chief Plaza Theater building the nonprofit group hopes to renovate into a performing arts venue in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Jim Cook, spokesman for Friends of the Chief, said the nonprofit is working on a plan where the gap financing needed to secure the building is supplied by an limited liability company. The U.S. Department of Agriculture loan that the group has been pursuing requires ownership of the building before the application is approved. Once the nonprofit secures the funds necessary to buy the building, the group can reapply for the USDA loan.

The LLC has yet to be formed, said Steamboat Lawyers Group attorney Jason Lacy, who eventually will draw up the company. Lacy said the number of investors still is not finalized. Those involved are electing to remain anonymous at the present time.

"They're definitely people that live here in the community," he said.

Lacy said the company will be legally formed when the number of participants and structure are agreed upon.

The LLC would loan the money to the Friends of the Chief Foundation nonprofit, which then would pay the LLC back from, ideally, the USDA loan.

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Lacy said the nonprofit is working on a new offer for the building after going through a couple of iterations throughout the past few months.

"It's looking much closer," he said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email

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