Thursday, May 22, 2014
sponsored by Theater 4 announces expansion project

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[May 22, 2014]  LINCOLN - Wednesday morning a small crowd gathered at the site of the old Sandel Service station at the corner of South Kickapoo and Clinton Streets. They were there to hear about a new venture that will add value to the community and make Lincoln a better place for its residents as well as visitors.

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 committee.

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 projects.

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 well.

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 2015.

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 façade.

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 Lincoln.

Estimated completion date for The Lincoln Grand 8 Theater is Winter 2015.


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