The scheduled foreclosure auction of the historic Gillioz Theatre was postponed for one week on Friday. Bankers and public officials gathered at 2 p.m. on the south steps of the Greene County Historic Courthouse to see what would happen, and learned Guaranty Bank gave the owner of the restored building more time to pay some or all of what it owes.
The bank "called" the loan this month, but neither it nor the president of Springfield Landmark Preservation Trust, which owns the Gillioz, will say why the loan was called, or how much is owed.
Among the crowd on the steps were Springfield City Manager Greg Burris and Ozarks Technical Community College Chancellor Hal Higdon. OTC rents space on the third floor of the Netters-Gillioz Building for its Fine Arts program, and the OTC Board of Directors voted this week to bid on the building "if the price is right."
The renovated Gillioz theatre's future is unknown, the auction re-scheduled for Friday, November 22nd at 2PM.
But the Gillioz is not the only place with an unknown lease on life. The building also houses Dining by Design's Wellington Place, Dublin's Pass, and it's been the home of the OTC Fine Arts Department for 6 1/2 years.
"Students love it. It's got character. It feels urban. It feels contemporary. It's just got a really great vibe about it, so yeah, our number one choice is to be able to stay here and continue to grow," says Kat Allie, Chair of the OTC Fine Arts and Humanities Department.
Allie says the prime location for First Friday Art Walks and access to the Gillioz theater are a real showcase. "Having access to that stage in the theater so our students can perform and do their blocking, also our choir has at least 4 major performances throughout the year," says Allie. OTC drama students hope to be performing "A Christmas Carol" December 4th-6th on the Gillioz stage.
OTC's president and chancellor says they're interested in buying the downtown landmark. "Our board has authorized us to enter into a sale if we feel like the price is right. So right now, we're just in a wait and see mode to see what happens, if and when there's a sale, and then go forward," says Higdon.
But OTC wasn't the only interested party on the courthouse steps. "We're fortunate. We do have a contingency plan, that if we need to, we can move the program out of the building," Higdon says.
Allie hopes the final curtain call doesn't come. "We're definitely hoping we can stay in this space," Allie says.
The owners of the theater sent this statement in an e-mail at 4 p.m. Friday:
"The Board of the Springfield Landmarks Preservation Trust has reached a significant milestone today. As a result of our progress and agreement, Guaranty Bank has delayed the sale of the Netters-Gillioz property while we schedule finalization of the agreement over the next several days.
"As soon as the transaction is completed, the Board will share details. The Gillioz Theatre continues business-as-usual with a slate of excellent programming for the greater Springfield community.
"Over the next few weeks, our community will enjoy the Children’s Choir of Southwest Missouri, the Summit School Concert, Switchfoot in Concert, the OTC Christmas Play, and the Lennon/Beatles Tribute: Imagine.
"Thank you for understanding our desire to provided complete information after the transaction is complete.
Dr. Philip Rothschild,