Long-running dispute

Angelika Film Center loses its Bayou Place legal fight: Bolting theater must pay $150,000

Angelika Film Center loses its Bayou Place legal fight: Bolting theater must pay $150,000

Finally, the sun has set on the drama between the Angelika Film Center and its Houston landlord, Bayou Place Limited Partnership. As the Houston Chronicle first reported, the Angelika lost the disagreement in arbitration. 

That dispute began as early at 2007 when the Angelika's 10-year lease ended and the theater chain began renting its space (which now houses Sundance Cinemas) on a reduced-price, month-to-month basis. An initial lease contract detailed that the theater's equipment belonged to the landlord, but the Angelika threatened to remove it all if the landlord wouldn't commit to a new lease agreement.

 The Angelika counter sued Bayou Place for "disparaging" its business, but wasn't awarded anything.   

All of this led to a "he said, she said" blame game with the theater abruptly shuttering overnight in August 2010, giving no notice to its employees or anyone else. The Angelika accused Bayou Place Limited Partnership of terminating its lease, and Bayou Place Limited Partnership claimed in a statement that "Unfortunately, after saying they would commit, Angelika changed its mind." 

Bayou Place Limited Partnership followed suit with a lawsuit in August 2010, which was sent to arbitration in May 2011 and reached determination in the landlord's favor just last month — with an affirmed award of more than $150,000 (including $39,000 in legal fees).

Included among the costly reimbursement items are HVAC repair — several theaters went without air conditioning in the summer of 2010 and Bayou Place argued that was the Angelika's responsibility under the terms of the lease (and the court agreed) — and other structural damage, as well as attorney costs and administrative fees.

The Angelika counter sued Bayou Place for "disparaging" its business, but wasn't awarded anything. 

Angelika closing brown paper
The scene at the Angelika the morning after the theater abruptly shuttered in Houston. Photo By Nic Phillips