Milton Theatre faces foreclosure, sheriff sale

Sussex County theater faces foreclosure after attempt to reduce the threat of flooding several years ago backfired after the real estate market took a downturn.

The Milton Theatre that was closed for decades prior to its renovation and reopening in 2000 now faces foreclosure and an upcoming Sussex County Sheriff’s Sale. The Board of Directors of the Milton Theatre released a statement detailing how negotiations with the lender had failed, and that the property would be up for auction. The theater defaulted on its mortgage payments in November 2009 that stemmed from a purchase of the lot next to the theater.

In order to gain access to the riverbank behind the theater, the Board of Directors bought the adjacent lot including a large Victorian house in 2005. They wanted access to the river so they could build a bulkhead in order to prevent flooding which has been major threat to the theater since its construction in the early 20th century.

The Board planned to sell the house once the lot had been subdivided but has been unable to do so in the current real estate market.  The $6,000 a month mortgage payment for the theater building as well as the adjacent house proved to be too much for the group, and they ran out of the necessary funds.

But as they say in show business, the show must go on, and the Milton Theatre is doing just that. Board President Ellen Passman resolutely declared, “We are operating full tilt, and we are booked through mid-November.” She continued, “We’re not giving up.”

The property will likely be on the docket for the September sheriff sale.

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