After a foreclosure sale process that drew out over multiple months, the ownership situation at Spring Lane Cinemas will remain the same for the time being after the lender to the company that owns the building at 1351 Plaza Drive in west Sanford paid back taxes on the property.
The building, owned by Firstrun LLC of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, had been up for foreclosure sale due to unpaid local property taxes totaling around $460,000. Lee County government had filed suit against Firstrun in early 2022, and the case made its way through the court system until June, when Judge Joy Jones ordered the foreclosure sale.
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 end of the auction began a 10 day upset bid period, which reset every time an upset bid was placed. Between July 20 and August 28, a total of eight upset bids were placed, reaching as high as $2.2 million (again from Wildlife Collections). Lee County lists the tax value on the building as $4,932,400.
But on Sept. 6 – which would have been the final day of the upset bid period – a representative of Stone Capital Acquisitions, which hold’s Firstrun’s note on the building, paid the outstanding taxes. This means the building technically remains in the hands of Firstrun, although it’s unclear whether Stone Capital plans a foreclosure action of its own against the company.
Spring Lane Cinemas is owned by East Coast Entertainment, which rents the building from Firstrun. East Coast Entertainment was not a party in the lawsuit.
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.