Suburban officials hopeful AMC Theatres will survive COVID-19
Despite AMC Theatres' announcement that it might not outlast the shutdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, local officials remain hopeful the country's largest movie theater chain will survive.
Mount Prospect Village Manager Michael Cassady hopes the pronouncement was an overstatement and AMC will remain a viable part of Randhurst Village. The loss of the multiplex would be "another gut punch" to the mixed-use center that already has endured the loss of anchor retailers, Cassady said.
On the upside, Mount Prospect officials have confidence in DLC Management Corporation, the Oak Brook-based owners of Randhurst Village, Cassady said.
"We've been impressed with their game plan thus far as to how they've gone about revitalizing the center," he said, adding that the theater generates sales and entertainment tax revenue that "approaches six figures."
Mount Prospect shares that revenue with Randhurst Village as part of an incentive deal that brought about the shopping center's redevelopment.
"It's a big impact, but it's not so much about tax revenue" as having a viable tenant that can "bring people into our community," he said.
AMC also operates theaters in Lake in the Hills, Lombard, Naperville, Northbrook, Oak Brook, Rosemont, South Barrington, Vernon Hills, Woodridge and at Schaumburg's Streets of Woodfield.
"We would hate to lose them," said Matt Frank, Schaumburg's director of economic development, adding that it would "have a significant impact" financially.
Frank is confident if the theater were to close, another tenant would replace it.
"(Streets of Woodfield) is a prominent location and a highly desired spot," he said.
Speculation on potential closings is premature, said Jeff Rutzen, general manager of Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. He characterized AMC's statement as cautionary and declined to speculate on the future of mall tenants.
"While there absolutely will be financial fallout from temporary COVID-19 shutdowns industrywide, we will have to wait until the smoke clears to know what those changes will be," he said via email.
The retail industry will rebound, Rutzen added, and shopping centers like Hawthorn Mall "will not only survive but thrive."
The entertainment component -- reflected in a business like AMC -- "will remain a strong part of our unique vision for Hawthorn Mall going forward," he said.
South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie shares his optimism. If the South Barrington venue doesn't reopen, it's prime location at Barrington Road and I-90 likely will attract another chain.
"This particular AMC did so well I assume another theater company would purchase that location," she said.
McCombie's optimism extends to film lovers, who she believes will take precautions and return to suburban multiplexes once it's safe to do so.
"I would hope those in the population who aren't considered vulnerable will start to live normal lives and won't be afraid to see a movie," she said.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.