David Lanterman is the owner in partnership of
the Lincoln Theater 4. Wednesday he announced that he along with
partner Jack Rooney and other investors will be expanding the
theater to eight screens.
They will be doing this with a new structure that will extend from
the current Theater location to the corner of South Kickapoo and
Clinton and on around the corner.
For local history and heritage buffs, one of the more exciting
aspects of this development is that Lanterman intends to save and
restore the old Sandels Service Station on the corner and make it a
vital part of the movie going experience.
The façade of the new theater will be created to look like multiple
buildings with the theater building being the largest. Lanterman
said in keeping with the goal of the city to restore and preserve as
much as possible the original look of the town, the façade’s will be
designed to look like buildings from the 1920’s. He noted that the
20’s was the hay-day of the downtown area and re-creating that was
an important part of the plan.
In addition, the new structures will include streetscape work that
fits in with the current plans of the downtown revitalization
For the Sandel Service Station, it will be refurbished, but will
maintain the architectural integrity of the original 1950’s
structure. The artist rendering of that building depicts it as an
eatery with indoor and outdoor seating.
The theater itself will be re-named the Lincoln Grand 8 Theater.
Lanterman said this was being done to pay homage to the original
Grand Theater that was destroyed by fire several years ago.
Lanterman is anticipating this project will be the first for the
city of Lincoln TIF program.
After the project announcement, Mayor Keith Snyder said the process
of applying for the TIF is not yet completed. He explained Lanterman
will file an appropriate application for TIF funding. The
application will go before the the city's TIF review committee. The
committee will review the application and make a recommendation to
the Lincoln City Council. The council will then review the
application and make the final decision. If approved the city will
then execute a TIF agreement between the city and Lanterman.
Snyder indicated this could all be accomplished in June.
This means that in the longer scheme of
things, the city will benefit from the collection of property taxes
on the new structures. The program involves the city offering
financing options for the construct. In return the city will collect
the difference between the existing property tax assessment and the
new assessment after the buildings are completed. That revenue can
then be used by the city for a few things. Portions of it can be
rolled back into the TIF financing for future projects, or the city
can utilize it to assist in the financing of revitalization
Lanterman also expressed appreciation to Derrick Clark of Regions
Bank. Regions will be the primary financer of the project. He also
noted there were private, un-named investors who were contributing a
lot to the project, and he expressed his appreciation to them as
The ground-breaking for the new construction is scheduled to be
around the first of July. Lanterman said if all goes well, and the
weather this coming winter is considerably better than this past
winter, he expect to see the new theater complex open in January of
He wrapped up saying this will be great for the community and for
local movie goers. He noted that back in the day, a new release
movie would be available for theaters for several months. In the
current day and age, a movie is available for three weeks and then
it is gone.
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Currently with only four screens, Lanterman said there are some
movies that don’t make it to Lincoln. By doubling the number of
screens, the offerings for local movie goers will be much better.
In regard to the old theater, Lanterman said the
front two screens will be maintained but the other two will go away.
There will be 6 new state-of-the-art screens in the new complex and
the two theaters will be connected together with walkways behind the
Lanterman wrapped up saying this has been a
project four years in the making. He said the project had moved
forward, stalled, and even gone backward a time or two, so he was
thrilled that he was finally able to tell the community about this.
Below is the press release Lanterman handed out
during the announcement:
If you are a current or former resident of
Lincoln, Illinois, member of a neighboring community, or just
another central Illinois citizen, get ready to be surprised, even
shocked! In continuing their already successful, strategic plan for
downtown Lincoln, MMIL Entertainment is announcing their Phase 2
expansion of the current Lincoln Theater by constructing 6 new
state-of-the-art screens with 755 seats that will be known as The
Lincoln Grand 8 Theater.
“Fantastic” is definitely a word that will come to mind when
citizens see the renderings and plans for this new entertainment
center. Other words coming to mind will easily include “stunning,”
“thrilling,” and “extraordinary.”
As laid out clearly in January, 2011 press releases, David Lanterman,
a downtown Lincoln advocate and organizer, announced the acquisition
of The Lincoln Theater 4 from national chain, Carmike Cinemas. At
the same time, he announced the shorter term strategy for
revitalizing the movie house and positioning it for a long term
success. Lanterman and his team have worked the initial strategy to
perfection, raising The Lincoln Theater 4 to successful levels not
seen in the past fifty years.
“This 6-screen expansion project is not to be viewed as the
end-point," says Lanterman. “It is actually just more of ‘starting
point’ for downtown Lincoln’s redevelopment. We have specific ideas
and plans that will keep this movement driving ahead and we could
not be more anxious for current and former Lincoln residents and
business owners to want to get involved."
Look for the exciting new Lincoln Grand 8 to
receive attention throughout central Illinois. Given Lincoln’s great
potential and perfect central location, the Lincoln Grand 8 will
drive a movement to make downtown Lincoln a true destination point
the million plus consumers that live and travel within 60 miles of
Estimated completion date for The Lincoln Grand 8 Theater is Winter
[By NILA SMITH and TEXT FROM FILE