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Madison, WI: Orpheum Theatre Sold

Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 5:02 PM

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The Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin has been sold to Gus Paras on November 8, 2013, according to an article in The Daily Page:

"It was one of the few places I admired," says Paras, now a well-known downtown businessman. Last Friday, Paras quietly gained control of the landmark theater, which has been the subject of an ongoing power struggle.

Paras was one of at least two people expected to bid on the theater in a Nov. 5 auction. The concert promotion company Frank Productions was also expected to bid.

The theater's previous owners, Eric Fleming and Henry Doane, ended tangled up in lawsuits as they fought for control of the building. Doane bought it in 1999 and brought Fleming in as a business partner in 2003.Paras had gotten involved with Fleming in a separate business deal in Waukesha, which also soured. According to Paras, Fleming owed him about $1 million in that venture.

By forgiving that debt, Paras says he was able to buy Fleming's half share of the theater for $1.7 million. He expects to pay about another half-million paying off lien holders on the theater.

He says that the theater is in need of repairs. The roof, a boiler and the AC unit will all have to be replaced, and the plumbing needs work. And he would like to build a kitchen in the basement to provide catering for weddings and other events. He also plans on restoring the marquee and upgrading the lighting and sound system.

"That place is going to eat a lot of money before we go outside to fix the sign,” Paras says. "I'm going to wait on the sign until I fix everything else. I have no choice."


Paras, who also owns the Comedy Club on State, has big plans for the theater. In addition to concerts and weddings, he'd like to host more comedy shows, including a possible comedy festival. He also wants to screen films there and hopes the Orpheum will be a big part of next year's Wisconsin Film Festival.

Click the Read link to view the full article.

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