A movie theater company is negotiating with the owners of the vacant Arlington Theaters to have a new cinema up and running in downtown Arlington Heights by spring, Village President Arlene Mulder said.
Arlington Theaters closed in July when negotiations for a new lease fell through, ending a 13-year run in the village's downtown.
The property's owner has since engaged in talks with another theater operator aimed at bringing movies back to Arlington Heights.
"They are working on the terms of the deal, including what changes need to be made to upgrade the facility and accommodate to new technology," Mulder said. Part of the expense that brought down Arlington Theaters was the need to upgrade to digital projectors as Hollywood phases out film, an expense that would have to be worked into any deal for a new theater.
Mulder declined to name the theater operators involved in the ongoing talks, but said getting a new theater open in the downtown can't come soon enough.
"I would like to have it open tomorrow," Mulder said. "There isn't a week that I don't run into people in the village telling me their memories from the theater and asking when it's coming back."
Although the village does not have an official role in negotiations, officials have kept in touch with all parties and hope to smooth the way for a deal.
Besides digital conversion, the theater needs other upgrades, Mulder said, including some interior renovations such as possible stadium seating.
Without the theater, 2012 will be first year in a long time without "Movie with the Mayor," an annual day of free movies during the holiday season that collected donations for local charities. It would have been Mulder's last "Movie with the Mayor" because she will be retiring in April after 20 years as village president.
The Arlington Theaters was the first tenant to open in 1999 at 53 S. Evergreen Ave. inside the Arlington Town Square, a downtown shopping district with a mix of shops and restaurants including Ann Taylor Loft, Bath & Body Works, Starbucks, Panera Bread, California Pizza Kitchen, JoS. A. Bank Clothiers and Noodles & Company, among others.