CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

I'm currently at the hypothethical / musing / doodle on a page stage. 

There is a theatre (a listed building) which has been on the market for the last few years in a
socio-economically disadvantaged area. When it first appeared on the market there was an
open meeting and lots of discussion about saving it and what the venue could be which
eventually came to nothing. The problem is this - if a magic wand were cast over the
building and it was completely restored then there would be a 3,000 seater venue in a very
run down area.

In my mind's eye I was thinking of cleaning up the foyer just enough to put on some sort
of info / display event, have someone from the council speak at it, discuss other
redevelopment that is taking place in the wider area. I was thinking of setting up a CIC
with the dual purpose of finding developers who would be interested in developing the area
and potential buyers for the theatre and drawing the whole thing together. Once there is a
co-ordinated plan to regenerate the area including the theatre the CIC would probably be
dissolved having achieved its aim.

My concern is whether it will be seen as too much as just assisting a private company
trying to sell the theatre to be classed as a CIC. The wording of SECTION B: Community
Interest Statement - Activities & Related Benefit into simple statements has me scratching
my head a bit.

Any advice appreciated.

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Replies to This Discussion

Would be lovely understand what you mean by helping a private company buy the theatre. The CIC could do a deal with the local authority to take over, raise finance from the community and social lenders to do it up.

What is the wider regeneration that you discuss? Maybe your local LEP (local enterprise partnership) has a plan? Is a source to develop this idea?

Hello Marie

Perhaps don't rush into setting up a CIC until you know if there is interest. You will need to incorporate before any formal transactions are completed, but not for just making contact with potential buyers or developers.

On the second issue, due to the asset lock a CIC can't unduly assist a private company, so the CIC could only pay market value for the theatre. Or are you talking about the CIC renovating the theatre so the existing owner can sell it privately?

For section B of the community interest statement the activity would be regeneration of a theatre and you would have to identify all the related community benefits related to this.

Regards

James

Thanks for the prompt responses.

A leisure company currently owns the theatre, they ran it as a bingo hall until 2008, they then moved into online gambling and put the theatre on the market in 2012, the price has since been reduced to £175,000. I was thinking of approaching theatre owners / theatre chains / entertainment companies to see if they would be interested in buying it (the CIC would not buy the theatre). There has been massive regeneration in the surrounding 2 to 3 miles, but the immediate 200 - 300 sq yds around the theatre is very run down.

It occured to me that I could create some kind of brochure which pitches the theatre to potential buyers, the advantages of the wider area etc.... all without setting up a CIC. However, I think potential buyers would be put off by the immediate area, so my thought process was create the brochure that pitches the theatre to potential buyers, and at the same time find developers who may be interested in developing the nearby area and pull both things together.

There are certain private developers who have done some regeneration in the wider area and have funded local arts initiatives / festivals who might be interested. I thought a CIC could pull both things together under one umbrella. It's not the private company buying the theatre I'm concerned about, it is being seen as a CIC which only exists to assist the private company which is selling the theatre.

It feels a bit like chicken and egg. I was thinking of the CIC as the thing to find / create the interest / buyers. If the interest exists already then a CIC to generate interest wouldn't be needed.

I see your concern as the regeneration the CIC did would help the private company sell the theatre and probably get a better price. However, the community benefits from regeneration will not be possible without giving the private company this assistance. Would it be possible to work with them on the project so they can contribute to the cost of it?

Hi Marie

If the outcomes (aside the monetary gain by the theatre owners) were tangible and relevant to your stated community of interest  then it the most basic legislative sense everything is fine. 

James make a good suggestion, and perhaps a CIC is not really the way forward at this stage. Id be interested to understand why you wouldnt consider using the CIC to also purchase the theatre though, as you say you pull everything under one umbrella?

If the costs are sub 300k Euro the SITR (tax relief) also comes into play, what would be the community interest of the CIC? Who currently owns the 200-300 sq metres that you mention is run down?

John

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