Barberton: Lake Cinemas Theater will show movies once again when it reopens its doors April 26, about four weeks later than first anticipated.
Dave Vaughan, executive director of Neighborhood Development Services, said last week that he hoped to have the theater reopened April 19 but because of equipment, construction and cleaning delays, the opening was extended one more week.
NDS spent about $250,000 to install digital equipment, including two 3-D screens, and to renovate the entrance.
Since construction began the first week of March, the concession stand has been rebuilt and a new box office sits inside. The old box office outside will be used as a marquee.
Painting is in progress, remodeling of the bathrooms is under way and all the carpets and chairs will be cleaned.
“I’ll be excited when the dust settles,” Vaughan said of the reopening. “We’re excited about the prospect but we still have to adjust a couple glitches.”
NDS purchased the theater in February for $545,000 following failed negotiations between the city and the previous tenant, Phil Canfora. NDS expects to spend about $300,000 on maintenance and rehab.
NDS canceled a previous $545,000 loan agreement with the Barberton Community Development Corporation on Friday.
“The loan structure didn’t make sense and we didn’t want to incur additional fees,” Vaughan said.
At the time, NDS was concerned about cash flow and didn’t want to take on all of the financial responsibility. After looking over the numbers, Vaughan said “things changed” and NDS had received additional income.
NDS will instead use a $620,000 Community Development Block Grant to take care of the purchase price. Money left over will be put toward economic development of downtown and to help with the theater.
The grant is federal money that the city will provide in five installments, Mayor Bill Judge said.
The group also finalized an agreement with Great Oak Cinemas of Wadsworth to operate the theater.
Jeff Davis, general manager of Great Oak Cinemas, said it has been working on hiring employees, ordering concessions and setting policies and procedures. It will also order the movies, though he won’t know what will be showing opening night until about a week before.
“We’re excited to bring movies back to downtown Barberton,” Davis said. “We’ve had a lot of positive reaction from folks on the street.”