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Video stores aren't closing
Two Stafford County Blockbuster locations staying open for now

 Dish Network bid $302.6 million for Blockbuster. The deal may be closed Monday.
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 4/20/2011

BY BILL FREEHLING

The two Blockbuster Inc. locations in Stafford County appear to be staying open as a sale of the bankrupt movie-rental chain looms.

Dish Network won an auction to purchase Blockbuster for $320.6 million and hopes to close the deal by Monday. The satellite-television company has indicated that it plans to keep hundreds of Blockbuster stores open, though an exact number is unclear.

Many Blockbuster stores have already closed, including ones in the Fredericksburg area, and additional closings are planned in the U.S. The firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.

Blockbuster's two remaining locations in the Fredericksburg area are at 430 Chatham Heights Road and 315 Garrisonville Road, both in Stafford.

The 2,000-square-foot Garrisonville location is a franchise owned by Dallas-based Capital Entertainment rather than a Blockbuster-owned store. The store manager said the location will remain open.

The Chatham Heights location is a corporate-owned store. It's in a 5,100-square-foot space in a building owned by an LLC of local developer Malone Schooler.

That store was among many listed in a filing by Blockbuster this past weekend in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The list was for stores whose leases Dish Network plans to take over.

The lease on the Chatham Heights location runs through June 30 with a one-year option to renew. About $7,228 in back payments is owed at that location, according to the filing. Schooler said it's unlikely the store would close before June 30, but it remains up in the air what will happen after that.

Schooler said the Chatham Heights space has good visibility at a well-trafficked intersection, so he thinks his firm will be able to attract a new tenant if Dish Network ultimately decides not to renew the lease after June 30. It could be broken up into two smaller storefronts.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com