Wilbur Up For Auction

Wilbur Theater owner Louis A. Delpidio has said that he hopes to get at least $3.5 million for the 1,200-seat house when it goes up for sale at a public foreclosure auction on March 10. If he can’t get that much for it, Delpidio says, he’ll keep the theater.

Delpidio recently bought the mortgage on the 80-year-old commercial theater from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for a reported $1.05 million. Around $800,000 in back interest is still owing on the mortgage, along with state tax liens on the theater and an unpaid water and sewer bill.

But the title to the theater remains in the hands of its former owner, New Wilbur Theater Inc., an investor group in which Delpidio holds a small non-voting share. By law he’s legally bound to hold a foreclosure auction to get the Wilbur title for Tremont Entertainment Enterprises, of which he is president, and be in a position to sell or complete his purchase of the theater.

Several problems above and beyond the asking price may hinder the Wilbur sale. The theater’s landmark status limits what can be done with and to it. Also, noise and food odors sometimes penetrate from a basement nightclub, which may be one reason why the Boston tryout of Brian Friel’s play “Translations,” set for Feb. 11-26, is playing the larger Colonial, rather than the Wilbur.

Delpidio says that if he ends up keeping the Wilbur he’ll turn it into a multi-use theater.

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