Popular downtown theater closes its doors
After 15 years, Hollywood Bar and Filmworks has decided to close its doors and not reopen for business. According to owner Ted Bulthaup, “I thought it would go on forever, but it’s time to leave.”
Citing increased parking rates that help fund the Indiana Pacers and increased beverage and food taxes that help to fund the Indianapolis Colts, Bulthaup believes his customers simply could not afford to continue their downtown entertainment habits.
“On over 100 nights a year, mostly weekends, which are bread and butter for the small business owner, parking rates are going up an average of 735 percent in the Southwest and Southeast Quad. People not attending those events are cutting way back on their downtown visits,” according to Bulthaup.
Bulthaup is blaming a city government he claims is unsupportive of small business owners for his decision to close, and in the week before the election he laid most of the blame on Mayor Peterson and former Director of Economic Development Melina Kennedy, a candidate for Marion County prosecutor.
“While I love the people of Indianapolis, our customers and downtown, since Peterson came to power my business has decreased by half,” Bulthaup claims. “There is something fundamentally wrong with [Peterson’s] administration when Jim Irsay makes more money from my customers than I do.
“I don’t have anything against either sports team for getting whatever money they can,” he continues. “I do have something against a government that takes the money from my customers, uses it in a way that discourages non-sports related visits to downtown and won’t listen to the business guys on the front line.”
There has been no formal response from the Mayor’s Office or the Kennedy campaign to Bulthaup’s charges. However, Justin Ohlemiller of the Mayor’s Office says Bulthaup is being unfair.
“There are a number of times when parking opportunities are completely free. For instance, after hours on the weekends, also after business hours on the weekdays all meters are free. There are a lot of affordable options downtown,” Ohlemiller says.
To read a full account of why Ted Bulthaup is closing Hollywood Bar and Filmworks, including his accusations against Bart Peterson, Melina Kennedy, Indianapolis Downtown Inc. and the Capital Improvements Board, go to www.filmworksonline.com.