Orpheum Theater sold by developer Eric George; here are the terms of the transaction and the new owner | Economic news
The Orpheum Theater, the century-old Beaux-Arts-style auditorium across from the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, changed ownership after surgeon and real estate investor Dr Eric George sold the building to local developer Darryl Berger .
George had owned the building since 2014, when he bought it with Roland and Mary Von Kurnatowski for $ 1.5 million and spent the following year – and $ 13 million – to repair the damage that had it. kept closed since Hurricane Katrina.
George had owned it since late 2018, when the late Roland von Kurnatowski transferred his stake as his business empire crumbled amid allegations of fraud and embezzlement.
The sale price of the last transaction was not disclosed. The Orleans parish appraiser valued the building and land at just under $ 2.6 million for the last tax year, up from $ 1.25 million for 2021.
The deal was reached last week, according to property records. Under the terms, Berger will lease the building to George’s company ERG Enterprises, which will continue to operate the theater as well as the independent Double Dealer cocktail bar located in the building’s basement, according to a source familiar with the deal.
Barrett Cooper, CFO of ERG Enterprises, said: “The operations will not change at all and the customer experience will be seamless. “
Berger declined to comment through a representative.
Since reopening in August 2015, the Orpheum has hosted an eclectic list of shows, carnival balls and other events, with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as the primary tenant.
Although the LPO was forced to switch to virtual performances during the first months of the pandemic, the tradition of music and varied entertainment is expected to continue this year. Events slated for Q1 2022 include local soul and hip-hop group Tank and the Bangas performing with the LPO, country actor Clint Black and his wife, and comedians Nate Bergatze and Tig Notaro.
George, who was born in West Virginia but spent most of his medical and professional life in New Orleans, has a real estate relationship with Berger that dates back to the early 2000s, when they first teamed up. times in multi-family housing developments. Their collaboration has since included co-investments in developments such as the Windsor Court Hotel on Gravier Street and the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
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The Orpheum, designed by architects G. Albert Lansburgh and Samuel Stone, opened almost 101 years ago on February 7, 1921.
Having started out as a venue for vaudeville acts, it has over the years served as a cinema; a stage for the great artists of the time, such as Bob Hope and George Burns; as a host of fundraising events to help hurricane survivors; and as a backdrop for films such as “One Night in Miami”, “The Green Book” and Spike Lee’s film “Da Five Bloods”.
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The building dodged the wrecking ball on several occasions, but was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1980s.
Things looked grim again after Katrina, when attempts by two owners to revive him failed. But George and the Kurnatowskis were able to take advantage of state tax credits for live performance infrastructure and other similar programs to make the funding work.