New life could be breathed back into the now shuttered Arlington Theaters. A new movie theatre company is currently in talks to move in and take over the vacant, six-screen cinema in the Village’s Downtown, officials said Tuesday.
“Basically there are negotiations between the landlord and a prospective tenant,” Village Manager Bill Dixon said, “And they are making progress.”
The new theatre company has not presented plans to the village just yet but according to Dixon, the prospective tenants have expressed interest in making changes to the building and obtaining a liquor license to allow the sale of alcohol at the theatre.
While the deal is still not complete and nothing official at this time, Dixon said Arlington Heights is very interested the plans he’s heard thus far. “Oh very much so,” Dixon said, “We definitely want to see the theatre reopen.”
Although the village is not part of the negations, Dixon said Arlington Heights officials are ready to work with the two parties to finalize the deal and fill the vacancy at 53 S. Evergreen Avenue.
After 13 years in business, the village’s only cinema, Arlington Theaters closed in July after negotiations for a new lease fell through. According to village officials, at that time, the high cost of required technology was in part to blame for the botched deal.
As film continues to get phased out of the cinemas, Dixon said it would cost roughly $600,000 in upgrades just to bring the six-screen theatre into the new age of digital cinema projection. –An expense not few have been willing to take on.
“Ever since it closed we’ve been involved in helping the landlord find a new tenant,” Dixon said, “That’s been our role.”
Now with the interest of a cinema company, the landlord is negotiating the terms of the deal, which include reconfigurations to the building to accommodate new technology, like digital projectors.
“We are encouraged as a village and eager to assist in anyway possible,” Dixon said, “But it’s really up to them and we have nothing to announce, not at this time.”
Because nothing has been made official, village officials declined to give the name of the cinema company in talks to move into the Arlington Theaters’ building, but Dixon is hopeful a deal will be made.
Arlington Theaters closed is doors about four months ago and village officials want to see the building open and occupied as soon as possible. Dixon said, “Its loss has been noticed by the community and by nearby businesses.”
While Village President Arlene Mulder told the Daily Herald a new cinema could be up and running by Spring 2013, the Village Manager said he is reluctant to speculate on when the theatre would reopen.
“It’s two private parties negotiating and we haven’t been invited to the table,” Dixon said, “So it’s hard to say, I don’t really know.”
If the theatre company and the landlord do make a deal, the village would then join the discussion to talk the possibility of building reconfigurations and the approval of a liquor license at 53 S. Evergreen Avenue.