The Trustee of the bankrupt Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven has responded to accusations by Ocean Professional Theatre Company in Barnegat that bids it submitted for the historic property are being ignored. 

Sue Moll, Townsquare Media
Sue Moll, Townsquare Media

Two offers made by Steve Steiner, Artistic Director for the Ocean Professional Theatre Company, were rejected for being financially insufficient and including impossible terms, according to John "Jack" McDonnell, Esq., the court-appointed Surflight Trustee.

"One of his [Steiner's] offers is to have the Borough of Beach Haven forgive any past taxes and, if he buys it, never impose any further property tax on the property," said McDonnell.

The Surflight property is in the process of being appraised and will be marketed this summer, according to McDonnell.

"The property will be listed for sale, and if it's not sold by a certain date, the property will be auctioned off," he said. A firm date has not been determined, but McDonnell said an auction would be held by early Fall.

Theatre advocates fear the property will end up in the hands of a builder, which is a possibility.

How much the Surflight Property will be listed for hasn't been determined yet, however, McDonnell said the bankruptcy petition for the debtor, Surflight Theatre, believed the property itself is worth somewhere around $3.9 million.

"I don't know if that's a good number or not, that's why we're relying on professionals to give that, but I would assume that it's in that ballpark," McDonnell said.

He added the uniqueness of the Surflight property is being taken into account. "It's my understanding that it is the third largest employer in season, so we're conscious of that. We have been entertaining rentals for the summer, so that's an avenue that we are pursuing, on a short-term basis, and then a sale after the summer," said McDonnell.

He said theatre groups throughout the country have expressed interest in renting The Surflight Theatre.

"The District has been declared a historic region in Beach Haven, so we're dealing with the uniqueness of that and the long term establishment that's entertained tourists and residents of LBI [Long Beach Island] for 65 years," added McDonnell.

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