Midwest City Warren Theatre facing foreclosure

Arvest Bank is seeking foreclosure on the Warren Theatre in Midwest City due unpaid debts and liens on the property which opened in August 2019. (File photo)

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

The Warren Theatre in Midwest City is in financial straits less than a year after opening.

Arvest Bank is seeking to foreclose on the theatre due to unpaid debts and several liens related to construction of the building.

The Arkansas-based bank, which provided financing for the movie complex, filed the foreclosure action Aug. 26 in Oklahoma County District Court.

According to court records, MWC Warren Theatre, Inc. owes more than $16.78 million under its loan agreement as of Aug. 26.

The Warren Theatre in Midwest City opened for business Aug. 23, 2019.  It was open for about 7 months before closing in March due to COVID-19.  The Wichita, Kansas-based company has not announced plans for reopening.

Arvest issued two separate loans to Warren for equipment and construction of the movie theater at 5905 SE 15th St. On Feb. 14, 2018, the bank approved a $14 million real estate loan and a $3.5 million loan for equipment.

The lawsuit alleges that Warren has failed to make multiple payments of principal and interest.

Arvest says Warren owes $12,914,699.20 in principal and $408,965.47 in interest for the real estate loan. The interest accrues at a rate of $3,874.41 per day.

The bank says it is owed $3,356,977.13 in principal for the equipment loan plus $101,451.58 in interest. The interest accrues at a rate of $943.68 per day.

According to the lawsuit, Arvest says Warren also defaulted on its loan for creation or enforcement of any lien, mortgage pledge, security interest, encumbrances, or other liens, unless timely discharged by Warren or insured by a title company. Several liens have been filed against Warren related to construction of the theater.

Arvest is asking the court to declare its mortgage lien valid and superior to others filed against Warren. The bank wants the theater sold with proceeds applied towards the loan including attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Key Construction, the general contractor for the project, says it is owed $1.06 million for unpaid labor and materials related to construction. The company originally filed the lien for $1,231,151.89 on Jan. 13 and revised it on Feb. 24 to the current amount of $1,062,622.12.

Other subcontractors have also filed liens against Warren, totaling more than $176,000.

Key Construction sued Warren for breach of contract in Oklahoma County District Court on Aug. 25, one day before Arvest filed its foreclosure request. The company is seeking payment of $1,062,622.12 which it says is the “reasonable value of such work.”

The Warren Theatre is the centerpiece of the Sooner Rose Shopping Center development near SE 15th St. and Sooner Rd. The development includes retail, restaurants, and an indoor entertainment complex. The 10-screen theater features a new concept that owner Bill Warren described as “smaller but more luxurious” than others he’s built.

Midwest City invested heavily in development of the commercial district, especially the Warren Theatre. The Midwest City Memorial Hospital Authority, a public trust, contributed about $6 million in land and $5 million in cash for development of the movie theater.

At the time, Warren operated theaters in Moore and Broken Arrow as well as Kansas and Missouri. The company later sold all of its other theaters, except the Midwest City location.

The city created a Tax Incremental Finance or TIF District for property around the shopping center. Sales and use taxes generated within the geographical area will be used to pay back loans for purchasing land and improvements.

Construction of the theater began in early 2018 and was originally slated to be complete by Christmas. Crews ran into several issues with the site early in the process. The city had relocated utility lines that ran through the property and removed several old underground fuel tanks.

The scheduled opening was pushed back until May 2019 and later July before it finally opened on Aug. 23, 2019.

City officials said they were aware of the dispute with the construction contractor, but news of the bank’s foreclosure came as a shock. Robert Coleman, economic development director for Midwest City, said he hopes Arvest and the other parties resolve the issues and protect the city’s interest in the project.

“We just want to see the theater back open when it makes sense to do so,” he said. “This theater is vital not only to the Sooner Rose Shopping Center but to the stability of our TIF district. And I think Arvest is aware of where we’re at and how important this is to the citizens of our community.”

Coleman is confident that will happen with Warren or another operator. But he does not foresee movie theaters making a comeback until there is a major decline in the virus or a vaccine is available.

“The fact that the theater closed was not Warren’s fault,” Coleman said.

Attempts to reach Warren by phone and email were unsuccessful. Attorneys for Key Construction offered no comment on the lawsuit.

9 Comments

  1. Heather on September 3, 2020 at 1:28 am

    I can’t believe this going on with the CDC’s strict rules and regulations for COVID-19! How are they supposed to open up fully? Please explain to me on how they are supposed to do that! I love the Warren it’s closer to our home and more convenient for us to go to. This is pathetic!!! They can’t help that we are having an outbreak of something that they have no control over

  2. James on September 3, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    My family purchased passes specifically for this location. Now what?

    • Deeznuts on September 5, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      sucks for you guys

  3. Trudy on September 3, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Can’t the payments be deferred until this covid-19 crap is under control. How can they make money wo customers?

  4. Hilda on September 7, 2020 at 6:05 am

    Just heard this on the news – terrible. I had been to this theatre when it opened and loved the experience. Here’s an idea, because of covid some NYC theatres set up a large screen outside and created a drive-in movie experience, it seemed to work. People pay and watch the movie from their cars – not sure if something like this would work, especially now that it is starting to get cold – but just an idea!

  5. CHERI WILLIS on September 10, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    So sad.. this is a great improvement to our city. Everything else is open .. why not the theaters? You can separate the seating etc. Open it up. They will come.

  6. Bryan Ferguson on September 25, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    We will be re opening soon it will no longer warren it will be regal theatre of Midwest city we are negotiating on the money problem but the theatre will be re opening very soon I work at the movie theatre I take the tickets there name is Bryan Ferguson employee of warren movie theatre in Midwest city Oklahoma when I hear something I will let everybody know the latest information

  7. Christy on October 24, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    You would think they could file an insurance claim under an act if God disaster or something. Geez. I know the banks need their money but whoever buys it will have the same restrictions. I hate that this civid us destroying so many businesses.

  8. James_RH on November 15, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    This is all about money, nothing more. Arvest is proving that much. It’s unfortunate, but bound to happen again elsewhere.

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