Round Lake Beach in talks to redevelop shuttered movie theater

The Regal Cinemas in Round Lake Beach has gone from a popular attraction for date nights to a popular attraction for criminals and other troublemakers since it closed last year.

But in the wake of a fire last month that seriously damaged the shuttered property at 550 Rollins Road, village leaders say there’s hope it will again be a positive presence in the community.

“The village has been in discussions with the property owners who indicated they are drafting plans for an entertainment area with an attached theater and restaurant,” Round Lake Beach Mayor Scott Nickles said last week.

  Crews fill dumpsters with materials from inside the shuttered Regal Cinemas on Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, which was seriously damaged in a fire last month. The theater has attracted vandals since closing last year, but Mayor Scott Nickles said the village is in discussions with the property’s owner about redeveloping the site. Paul Valade/

Closed in February 2023 by parent company Cineworld, the vacant theater has been the site of break-ins, a major instance of vandalism and last month a suspected arson that severely damaged parts of the building.

After that April 20 fire, village police stepped up patrols around the theater, Chief Wayne Wilde said.

“We have conducted directed patrols of the building and have worked with our economic development department along with the property owners,” Wilde said. “The building has now been completely boarded up to prevent entry.”

Two Lake Villa men, David M. Dolan, 19, of the 36000 block of Elizabeth Avenue, and Anthony P. Shields, 20, of the 21000 block of Engle Drive, face arson charges in connection with the blaze.

They were arrested a day after the fire and remain in custody at the Lake County jail pending scheduled court appearances Thursday, court records show.

“Patrol officers received a tip from an unrelated call for service that was provided to our detectives,” Wilde said. “After interviewing the suspects, they confessed to our detectives to starting the fire, along with other corroborating statements regarding the incident.”

The vandalism that occurred about a month earlier remains under investigation and does not appear connected to the fire, the chief added.

“These incidents are isolated, and like many other vacant properties in other communities, attract criminal behavior due to the lack of employees and pedestrian traffic,” Wilde said. “We have always encouraged members of the public to report any suspicious activity no matter where it occurs in our village to our dispatch center at (847) 270-9111.”

  Windows and doors are boarded up at the shuttered movie theater on Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach. Two Lake Villa men face arson charges in connection with a fire that damaged the building last month. Paul Valade/
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