Emery Theatre settlement leaves future unclear

Posted at 10:50 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 10:58:18-04

CINCINNATI — A years-long legal battle between the owners of the Emery Theatre and the nonprofit that wants to restore it has ended.

The University of Cincinnati, Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership and the Emery Center Corp. reached separate settlements with Tara Gordon and Tina Manchise of the Requiem Project Inc. Gordon and Manchise sued all three organizations in Hamilton County in 2013 for damages, claiming the organizations interfered with the project’s fundraising, operations and contractual rights to try and restore the historical theater.

The theater, built in 1911, sits inside the former Mechanics Institute building on Central Parkway between Walnut and Main streets. UC purchased the building in 1969. The university then signed a 40-year lease agreement in 1999 with ECALP to convert classrooms into 59 apartments and manage them. The for-profit company in turn sublet the theater to ECC in 2010. ECC partnered with the Requiem Project that same year to restore the theater.

“We are pleased to report that the disagreements between the University of Cincinnati, the Emery Center Corporation, ECALP, and The Requiem Project, Inc. have been amicably resolved among the parties,” wrote Sean Callan, the attorney representing the Requiem Project. “UC, ECC and ECALP recognize the efforts on behalf of the Emery Theater made by the Requiem Project, and its principals Tara Gordon and Tina Manchise.”

Callan sued UC in the Court of Claims of Ohio in 2015 after officials said the Requiem’s case against the state university could not move forward in local claims court. As part of its settlement, UC agreed to pay the project $200,000 in damages, as confirmed by UC spokesman Greg Vehr. The project’s shareholders agreed to release the university from any future liability involving the Emery Theatre project.

RELATED: See the Court of Claims settlement document here

Details of the settlement between ECC and ECALP remain unclear. Neither organization or the Requiem Project released details of the agreement. It is not clear if Manchise and Gordon will continue to lead renovation efforts for the theater.

The Emery Theatre, designed by famous Cincinnati architect Samuel Hannaford, is known for its acoustical purity. The theater most recently appeared as a set location in “Miles Ahead,” the film Don Cheadle directed and starred in that is set to premiere in Cincinnati on Saturday.