The owners of Marana's Tower Theatres - the region's only independently owned first-run movie complex - are optimistic that their financial woes will be settled by the end of next month, heading off a scheduled foreclosure auction in May.
The company's lender, Bank of Arizona, filed a sale notice in February on the theaters, at 5755 W. Arizona Pavilions Drive.
The theaters remain open for business, however.
Listing an original principal balance of $5.3 million, the notice of trustee's sale says the property is set for auction at 10 a.m. May 26.
Two other sale notices filed the same day list properties belonging to the partners in Linda Vista Cinemas LLC, which owns Tower Theatres as well as Grand Cinemas, a second-run theater company with two Tucson locations.
Cutler Fire Protection, owned by Linda Vista Cinemas partners Dan and Linda Cutler, and a northwest-side property belonging to Linda Vista partner Kent Edwards and his wife, Angela Edwards, are scheduled for auction at the same time as the theaters.
All three sale notices say Kent Edwards and the Cutlers have been delinquent on payments since November.
Bank of Arizona's filing of the sale notices was a necessary part of the process toward renegotiating the company's debt, Edwards said in an interview. The Cutlers are traveling and could not be reached for comment.
Bank of Arizona is a good lender, Edwards said.
"We're trying to renegotiate with our bank, and their filing a foreclosure notice is just part of the process, the procedure, because we did go into default," he said. "We're very confident that we will be able to work something out with our lender."
The company expects the whole issue to be resolved sometime in April, he said, and customers shouldn't notice any difference during the process.
"This is just something that's procedural, and unfortunately because it's a public record, everyone's going to know about it," Edwards said.
Renegotiating before the auction is a reasonable hope, said Karie Bible, a box-office analyst with Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., a Los Angeles-based industry-research firm.
"It's a hard time for independent theaters," she said. "If it's a multiplex, it definitely stands a better chance. People still go to the movies a lot, even during the recession."
Tower Theatres has 12 screens. Edwards said customers shouldn't notice any change while the financial details are worked out in the coming weeks.
"Our business is growing, and we've done real well," he said. "We're having a record year right now. I feel very confident we'll be able to work something out."
Contact reporter Shelley Shelton at email@example.com or 807-8464.