By Jane Smith
Hamid Hashemi and three other men resigned from their executive positions with iPic Entertainment on Nov. 15.
It was the same day that its lender gained control of the iPic luxury theater chain through an affiliate, iPic Theaters.
The new company operates iPic theaters in 15 cities and remains based in Boca Raton. The lender, Retirement Systems of Alabama, canceled the lease Oct. 31 for headquarters office space in its new theater building in Delray Beach, now called 4th & 5th Delray.
In 2015, Hashemi had promised to move the company’s headquarters to Delray Beach. He persuaded city leaders to approve his project with a promise of higher-paying jobs in Delray Beach.
Also, on Oct. 31, RSA canceled the lease for the corporate apartment in Boca Raton.
The changes were allowed because RSA had made the winning bid for the iPic assets in bankruptcy court, offering $51.8 million. The luxury movie theater chain had filed for bankruptcy court protection on Aug. 5 in Delaware, when it was crumbling under a $220 million debt load to RSA.
When iPic began in 2010, Hashemi had a novel approach to movie theaters by providing reclining seats and food service. Soon, competitors began providing the same luxury movie-watching experience.
In addition, fewer people were going to the movies, preferring to stream movies in the comfort of their homes.
In Delray Beach, a complex of eight iPic theaters opened in March. Its pod seating allows two people to sit together, perfect for date nights but not for a group of friends. Even with the membership program, people must pay about $26 for a movie ticket on weekends.
RSA has no comment at this time, spokeswoman Michelle Soudry said via email. The publicist for the 4th and 5th Delray building owners did not respond to an email seeking comment.
In bankruptcy court, the new company paid $78,000 of the $135,947 owed, or 57%, for theater space in Delray Beach, according to a Nov. 18 filing.
In Boca Raton’s Mizner Park, landlord Brookfield National Properties received nearly $42,966 of the $79,107 owed, or 54%, for office and theater space, also filed on Nov. 18.
Separately, the 4th and 5th Delray building owners asked for parking and valet sign approval on Nov. 13 from the city’s Site Plan Review and Appearance Board.
The owners need to remove two sandwich-board signs directing customers to the valet stand and 90 public parking spaces in its garage, which also serves iPic customers and office users.
Retailers and office building owners are not allowed to use those signs in Delray Beach, said Mark Denkler, chairman of the city’s Parking Management Advisory Board. Only restaurants can use them to show their menus, he said.
Delray Beach is working on a “wayfinding sign” program to show the location of public parking lots and garages, museums, shopping, etc. In December, some sign options will be shown to the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board.
Consequently, the SPRAB members approved 4-foot-tall orange signs for the valet and public parking. The signs project out from the building by nearly 6 feet and will be attached at the bottom of the second floor.
The word “Valet” will be used and a capital P for the public parking. The white letters will be outlined in dark brown. The double-sided signs will be illuminated at night.
By Jane Smith