By Gordon Anderson |

The building that houses Spring Lane Cinemas, located at 1351 Plaza Drive in west Sanford, has been the subject of several competing bids in a foreclosure auction that has been going on since July 20.

Several bidders showed up at the sale on July 20, held at the Lee County Courthouse, but only two competed for the property. The winning bid for $1.25 million that day was from Wildlife Collections LLC, a Sanford-based company which specializes in wildlife and conservation themed merchandise.

But the winning bid wasn’t the end of the situation. After the auction, a 10-day period for upset bids began, open to any bidder willing to go five percent higher than the initial high bid. On July 31, Dionysus, a limited liability corporation operating out of Apex, entered a bid for $1,312,500. The same day, Wildlife Collections countered with a bid of $1.5 million.

Any time an upset bid is made, the 10-day upset period restarts. As of this writing, if there are no further upset bids, the period will end on Aug. 11. The Rant will follow up when the sale is final.

Court records indicate that Lee County sued the company which owns the building, Firstrun LLC of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, beginning in early 2022 over unpaid property taxes in the amount of $368,001.70. The current amount owed, including interest, costs and late fees, is closer to $460,000. The case made its way through the court system until June, when Judge Joy Jones ordered the foreclosure sale.

Until the sale is final, the building will remain the property of Firstrun LLC. Jared Campbell, the manager for Spring Lane Cinemas, told The Rant that the Spring Lane Cinemas business is owned by East Coast Entertainment, which rents the property from Firstrun LLC. East Coast Entertainment was not a party in the lawsuit.

The building’s tax value is $4,932,400, according to Lee County’s GIS website.

Spring Lane Cinemas is the only movie theater in Sanford, and as such is one of the primary options for entertainment in town. Former owner Frank Theaters filed for bankruptcy in 2019, and the theater changed hands to East Coast Entertainment the same year. The theater was also closed for eight months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but reopened in November 2020.