Movie theaters coming back to Oakbrook Center

Nearly a dozen years after Oakbrook Center's last movie theater closed, first-run films will be returning to the Oak Brook mall.

Village trustees have given their blessing for a roughly $50 million plan that includes a 12-screen luxury movie theater with indoor parking at the mall at the corner of the 22nd Street and Route 83.

In addition to constructing the theater building, the mall's owners are planning to redevelop existing space to create a new restaurant and casual dining area.

“This will be a tremendous investment in the future of Oakbrook Center,” Village President Gopal Lalmalani said. “The village of Oak Brook is very happy that we've been able to land this development. We are very excited about this whole thing.”

Chuck Fleming, Oakbrook Center's senior general manager, said the project is the latest in a series of improvements to the upscale, outdoor mall.

“We have a very strong retail mix and a very strong restaurant mix,” Fleming said.

“Now we're adding an entertainment element to the existing shopping center. That's exciting.”

Fleming said the last movie theater to operate at the mall closed in 2003. Because of the project, another theater that's been shuttered since 2001 will be renovated and reopened.

The four-screen facility inside the mall will be operated by AMC Theatres, which also will run the future 12-screen theater.

While the new theater building is scheduled to open in November 2016, Fleming said the renovated four-screen theater will reopen this May or June.

Fleming said plans call for the renovated theater to show first-run movies while the new structure is being built. It later will become “more of an art theater,” he said.

As for the new cinema building, it will be constructed on the north side of the mall's property. The first three levels of the structure will have indoor parking. The dozen theaters will be on the top level.

“It's going to be a high-end theater with luxury seats, food and alcohol options,” said Fleming, adding the business will cater to “customers looking for a higher end experience.”

Even though the building will be constructed where there's currently a parking lot, its indoor parking area will have space for at least 475 cars. As a result, the mall is expected gain about 300 parking spaces, officials said.

Meanwhile, part of the mall next to the theater building will be reconfigured so 10,000 to 15,000 square feet can be used for a restaurant and casual dining zone.

“It's going to be spaces where you can bring in a number of dining establishments,” said Robert Kallien Jr., Oak Brook's community development director.

“They are going to carve an area out so you could provide a corridor into these theaters,” Kallien said.

One side of the corridor will have two sit-down restaurants.

The other side will have a food hall with common area seating and different types of food options, Fleming said.

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