By Jane Smith and Mary Hladky
IPic movie theaters in Delray Beach and Boca Raton remain open two months after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
But iPic Entertainment founder and chief executive Hamid Hashemi has abandoned efforts to persuade Delray Beach officials to allow him to open a restaurant on the third-floor terrace of the luxury theater that opened earlier this year just south of Atlantic Avenue between Southeast Fourth and Fifth avenues in the downtown.
The Downtown Development Authority board gave conditional approval for the restaurant in mid-August. But the company did not seek the approval it needed from another city board, which would have made a recommendation to the City Commission.
The terrace will remain vacant, City Attorney Lynn Gelin said in late September.
IPic also had not moved its headquarters from Boca Raton to Delray Beach.
The company had promised to relocate its headquarters within 180 days of the office space receiving a certificate of occupancy. The office space, which is part of the 4th and 5th Delray project that includes the theater, was still not ready as of late September.
IPic’s bankruptcy case is moving at a fast pace, as the company seeks to restructure its debt or find a buyer.
On Sept. 13, Delaware U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein approved bidding procedures for the sale of iPic’s assets.
She set an Oct. 11 deadline for potential buyers to submit bids, with an asset auction to be held on Oct. 17. A sale hearing to authorize the sale of assets is set for Oct. 28.
IPic launched in 2010 with a new concept: luxury theaters with reclining seats, quality food and drinks brought to patrons, and pillows and blankets. The chain grew to 16 theaters in nine states.
But in the years since, theater patronage has decreased nationwide and larger theater chains copied iPic’s dine-in option and reclining seats.
IPic’s financial problems worsened in the first quarter of this year and on July 1 it missed a $10.1 million interest payment due to the Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama and the Employees’ Retirement System of Alabama.
IPic sought bankruptcy protection on Aug. 5 and its stock was delisted on Nasdaq. The stock traded on the over-the-counter market at 48 cents per share as of Sept. 24.