One of the complexities of the development of the Royal Theater is a legal process that compels Universal Companies, the current owner of the historic South Street theater, to do something with the property or let it go to conservatorship.
Neighborhood resident Juan Levy filed an Act 135 petition that would mark the property as blighted should Universal do nothing to develop it. In that case, a court-appointed conservator would take possession of the Royal in order to rehabilitate it and then sell it, but with a profit limited to 10 percent.
In his filing, Levy named developer Ori Feibush — who once made an offer on the Royal, but was rebuffed — as the proposed conservator. Feibush is now funding the legal process. Feibush says neither he nor Levy are interested in taking over the Royal or finding a developer other than Universal. They simply want to see something positive happen with the building.
“We want [Universal] to build. We want to see this process followed through on. We want to give them the latitude they need,” Feibush says. “The only goal of the Act 135 filing is to get the Royal Theater developed. If Universal requires a few more weeks or months or even a year, we will provide them with that additional time. We have already afforded them two continuances.”
While Feibush does believe Universal intends to develop the building now, he also says the Act 135 proceeding is not going away. “If they don’t develop the property for any reason, we’ll ask the judge to proceed with the conservatorship process. We are willing and able to develop the property and return it to productive use.”