A permit to reopen the former Movies on Exchange Street, 10 Exchange Street, was delayed last night by the city staff even though the application was already set on the City Council’s agenda. The application was filed by Josh Soley, 20 years old, to open a movie theater with a bar at 10 Exchange Street in the Old Port of Portland. The property is owned by his grandfather, the controversal Joe Soley, 82 years old. Soley is a major property owner in the Old Port and a former business associate of Vice President Spiro Agnew in Baltimore, MD., decades ago – in the administration of President of Richard M. Nixon.
The younger Soley, who is close to his grandfather, plans to open a multi-entertainment venue with his business partner. It will be an old-fashioned theater-bar with classical movies showings in the afternoon and a similar atmosphere that will continue after the movie is over. In addition, there will be pool tables and a stage. However, not all neighbors in the area are pleased about this development. “Let’s hope this isn’t double-trouble,” said one neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.
Last night at the City Council meeting, Mayor Michael Brennan delayed consideration for Class A license because the applicant is 20 years old. The state will not issue liquor licenses to anyone under 21 years old according to Kathy Jones, City Clerk. “We just didn’t catch it in time,” said Jones today. Soley will be 21 years old on June 8, 2015, so the license will be reconsidered at the June 15 City Council meeting according to the Mayor.
In a related matter, as reported previously by mhn.com., the sale of the two upper floors of several buildings on Exchange Street belonging to Joe Soley is in the works, according to a source close to that situation. The first sale took place earlier this year to Joe Soley business associate Steve Baumann and his numerous business partners. The second sale is yet to happen. A serious restoration process will have to be undergone to bring the units up to code and sold or rented – whether for condominium or rental units. Business neighbors regard this as a positive step for the Old Port as it will attract more pedestrians to the area.