Parliament House owner responds to upcoming closure rumors

(Watermark file photo)

ORLANDO | Parliament House owner Don Granatstein addressed online rumors Oct. 5 that Orlando’s longest running LGBTQ club and resort would be closing down in November.

Social media posts this week have pointed to court documents indicating the owners of the Parliament House agreed to surrender the resort property by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 2. The documents state Lion Financial, the Miami-based firm that holds Parliament House’s mortgage, would be free to take ownership of the property after midnight Nov. 3.

“That is a date we gave them,” Granatstein says. “They said let’s pick a date for you to go get your financing by and that was Nov. 3. We thought that was a fair date at the time, in the beginning of September.”

According to court documents, Parliament Partners — the company name the Parliament House is owned under — filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 2 to help reorganize its debt with Lion but asked the court to dismiss the case Sept. 16 stating that the parties had reached an agreement.

“As you know, anyone who owns lots of retail properties and mortgages these days [as Lion does], they are having their own problems, so I have a deal with Lion,” Granatstein says. “The deal is I buy it for the mortgages so that is what I am working on.”

Court documents list the loan amount owed to Lion as $4.8 million. For his part, Granatstein says he is “smack dab in the middle” of securing the financing he needs.

“Do I believe I’ve got it? Yes. Do I have documents that say I have it? Yes. Does that mean it’s going to close? I hope so,” he says. “It’s very damn difficult with this COVID stuff, and people I could always rely on with funds are not exactly flowing these days. It’s crazy times out there. I use to be able to get financing pretty easily, it’s not that way anymore.”

Rumors that the popular LGBTQ resort is in danger of closing have popped up on social media several times over the last few years as its owners have worked on restructuring its debt. This current deal to secure Parliament House’s funds is something that has been in the works for nine months, Granatstein says. Along with funds to pay off Lion, the financing would come along with an additional $2 million for renovations and construction.

“We are doing everything humanly possible with our money, with our time, with all of the resources and connections to get this thing done,” he says.

Granatstein says he will have a much clearer picture come next week when he plans to sit down and renegotiate the dates laid out in the court documents.

Worst case scenario, Parliament House would need to eventually find a new home. While Lion currently owns the property, it does not own the name.

“We own the name Parliament House and we own everything that goes with it,” Granatstein says, “so that is an option but I don’t want to do that. We’ve had people tell us the place is beat up, that’s a lot of money, we know how hard it is; just open it somewhere else and we’ll be fine. That doesn’t feel right. Parliament House has been here for 60 years. I love this place, beat up or not beat up, I’ve been here for 21 years. Every morning I get up and I go to the Parliament House. This is where I spend my weekends, this is where I do everything. I’m not accepting it won’t be here and neither should anyone else.”

Watermark has reached out to Lion Financial for comment but has yet to hear back.

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