Moscow City Authorities to Sell 10 Film Theaters

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It expects the properties to be sold in two lots, with the starting prices of $98 million and $53.6 million.

MOSCOW -- The Moscow city government has put up for sale 10 film theaters and expects to raise more than $150 million for them.

The city property department has announced an auction for 10 theaters, which it expects to sell in two lots, with the starting prices of $98 million (3.1 billion rubles) and $53.6 million (1.7 billion rubles), respectively.

Applications are accepted through Nov. 19, and the auctions are to be held Dec. 6.

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Under the auctions’ conditions, the new owners of the theaters will have to renovate the venues or tear them down and erect new buildings on the sites within three years. There are no clauses specifically requiring that the new or renovated buildings will have to remain film theaters. However, one third of each building’s total area will have to be used for cultural or educational purposes.

Over the last few years, with the rise of new, multi-screen theaters, the popularity of older theaters with one or two screens has substantially declined. And while some of the theaters slated for privatization are currently run by major theater chains, such as Karo Film and Formula Kino, the chains are still more interested in opening multiplex cinemas than in renovating old-format theaters.

Meanwhile, the authorities also said they are planning to privatize 29 of the 78 film theaters the city currently owns.