Blacksburg First & Main in negotiations with potential new operator

CineBowl & Grille shut down, owes $450,000 in unpaid rent, court documents show

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Blacksburg APF Partners, the group that owns First & Main shopping center confirms to WSLS 10 it is in negotiations with a potential new operator for the Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille which was shut down Tuesday morning.  

The information comes nearly twelve hours after the property locked the doors to the theater.

The president of a theater chain said he doesn't know why the owners of a Blacksburg shopping center would lock the doors of the CineBowl & Grille, which is accused of being in arrears on rent payments.

Bruce Frank, president and CEO of Frank Entertainment Group, said he was unaware of any reason the owners of First & Main Shopping Center in Blacksburg would lock the doors to the CineBowl & Grille, despite court documents claiming it failed to pay $450,000 in rent.

Blacksburg APF Partners, which owns the shopping center, posted a notice Tuesday on the business' door, saying that it had severed ties with Frank Theatres. A lock was wrapped around the door handles.

Frank told WSLS 10's Dawn Jefferies by phone that he knew nothing about the closing until he read the story Tuesday morning.

Frank was asked if he knew of anything that would lead the property owners to sever its ties over claims that Frank Theatres failed "to meet its obligations under the lease." Frank said he would "have to talk to the landlord" and would return our call.

According to a summons for unlawful detainer, the theater owes $450,000.01 in rent from November 2016 through this month as well as $42,500 in late fees. The documents say the defendant should be "removed from possession" based on the unpaid rent.   

Frank has not responded again as of Tuesday afternoon.

Employees showed for work on Tuesday and found the building inaccessible. 

The state-of-the-art theater, including IMAX, a full-service restaurant and bar and a bowling facility, opened almost two years ago with great fanfare.

Blacksburg APF Partners said it noticed "a significant failure on the part of Frank Theatres to meet its obligations under their lease" over the last few months and that it has initiated legal proceedings against Frank Theatres.

The group has not released additional details but said it has every intention of reopening with a new tenant in the very near future.

A hearing is scheduled for May 19 in Montgomery County General District Court.