Mez and EpiCentre Theaters, a connected restaurant-nightspot-movie theater in the uptown EpiCentre complex, will be closing permanently in two weeks.
The plans were announced on Mezs Facebook page late Sunday. A spokesman for the EpiCentre said that negotiations with a new tenant are in their final phase, and the complex plans to announce the new tenant in a week or so.
That tenant will include a new movie theater. The site is uptowns only major movie house.
We are very sad to announce today that Mez will be closing its doors on Jan 27th, Mez wrote in its Facebook posting. Look for a new movie concept to replace Mez Feb 2013.
EpiCentre is undergoing a $15 million renovation effort. The owners have installed everything from new lights to maps helping visitors navigate the more than 300,000-square-foot complex at Trade and College streets.
The owners hope to help attract a more diverse clientele, including families, and change its reputation for being primarily a nightspot. Last month, the EpiCentre also announced it has signed leases for a new, 6,241-square-foot Italian restaurant, La Tagliatela, a 2,297-square-foot Hibachi Grill and a 7,666-square-foot eatery, Tin Roof.
Mez and the movie theater were embroiled in the larger ownership dispute surrounding the EpiCentre in which the original developer, Afshin Ghazi, lost ownership of the complex. A group of investors called Blue Air 2010 LLC bought the projects $94 million construction loan in fall 2010.
The EpiCentre was then caught up in two years of messy legal wrangling, in which the new owners accused Ghazi of falsifying financial records. Ghazi signed over most of the EpiCentre, but retained ownership in EpiCentre Theater Partners, a limited liability company that owned the movie theater, Mez Restaurant and Kazba nightclub.
A federal judge ordered Ghazi to sign documents giving up all his ownership in the complex in August, days before the Democratic National Convention, which drew thousands of visitors and national media to the EpiCentre.
The EpiCentres owners also filed a separate lawsuit to collect back rent from EpiCentre Theater Partners and related parties, including Ghazi. They alleged that the theater didnt pay its $36,844 monthly rent and $2,947 trash fee from January through July of 2012.
According to a settlement filed in federal court in December, Ghazi agreed to release all claims to funds held by EpiCentre Theater Partners or any credit against a $1 million final payment he made to creditors.
Ghazi agreed to pay a $15,000 settlement in the case, and the parties agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case on Dec. 19. Researcher Marion Paynter contributed.
Portillo: 704-358-5041 On Twitter @ESPortillo
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