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updated: 7/30/2012 12:54 PM

Still hope for first-run theater in downtown Arlington Heights

But government, businesses in talks to reopen theater downtown

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  • There is a lot of interest in Arlington Heights in getting the movie theater back open.

      There is a lot of interest in Arlington Heights in getting the movie theater back open.
    DAILY HERALD file PHOTO

 
 

Owners of the recently closed Arlington Theaters say they're still committed to getting another first-run movie theater in that downtown Arlington Heights location but said there's no deal on the table yet.

Bud Perrone, spokesman for Miami Beach, Fla.-based landlord LNR Partners, said getting a first-run movie theater is still of top importance to the company.

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"They want to reopen as soon as possible, but there's no predictions about when that might happen," Perrone said.

Since the theater's closing in mid-July, village officials say they have been in constant contact with the parties.

"We've had interest from several different theater operators and continue to have ongoing and frequent discussions with the ownership and the brokers," Charles Witherington-Perkins, director of planning and community development, said Friday.

"It's a priority for the village to do what we can to get another theater in that location."

Talks with F&F Management Inc., which operated the theaters, over the lease renewal and installing digital technology in the theaters broke down after about a year. F&F Management is no longer involved with the theater.

"While we regret that we were not able to come to terms with the previous operator of the Arlington Theaters, LNR Partners is working with the Arlington Heights village officials to ensure that the cinema is maintained as the anchor of the shopping district and as a central gathering place for residents of the local community," Perrone said in a statement.

The statement adds that the operators LNR is in talks with are all "willing and able to invest in the upgrades necessary to ensure the theater's long-term success."

Hollywood plans to go completely digital by the end of 2013, and industry experts say theaters nationwide must decide whether to make the expensive investment.

Witherington-Perkins said the village was sad to see Arlington Theaters close after 12 years in business.

"Its closing makes for a missing ingredient in what we have established downtown as being a destination for dining, shopping and entertainment," Witherington-Perkins said, adding that theatergoers frequented stores and restaurants as part of their trip to the movies.

Although the village does not have an official role in the issue, Witherington-Perkins said they've been talking with both LNR and Oak Brook-based broker Edgemark Asset Management LLC, as well as keeping everyone in the loop about the progress of negotiations, which he said are still private at this point.

"It's going to take some time. Nothing is going to happen in the next week or so, but we would like sooner rather than later," he said. "But that is somewhat out of our control since we don't own the theater or the building."

While negotiations continue, Witherington-Perkins urged patience.

"We've had a lot of calls and emails from not just Arlington Heights residents, but also moviegoers who are disappointed with the closure and wanting to know what's happening," he said.

"Everyone wants to know what is going to happen, but it's a question of letting the private negotiation process take its course."

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