Maumee closing adds to vacant theater spaceWritten by Gail Burkhardt | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When the 18-screen cinema on Conant Street in Maumee closed July 11, it became the fourth vacant theater in the Toledo area.
The Franklin Park Cinemas on Monroe Street and Showcase Cinemas on Secor Road have been closed since May 2005, and Super Cinemas in Spring Meadows has been closed since April 2008, according to an e-mail from Rachel Lulay, a spokeswoman for National Amusements Inc., which owns the three theaters.
Rave Motion Pictures bought the Conant Street theater from National Amusements for about $4.7 million in December 2009, according to the Lucas County Auditor’s Real Estate Information System.
Rave also took control of National Amusements theaters at the Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee, inside Westfield Franklin Park Shopping Mall in Toledo and at Levis Commons in Perrysburg, but did not buy the theaters because they are owned by the shopping centers, said Jeremy Devine, vice president of marketing for Rave.
Rave will try to sell the approximately 98,000-square-foot Conant Street building, Devine said. The company is 10 years old and has never sold a theater building before, he said, adding that he hopes the building can be repurposed into something else, such as a health club or a church.
Steve Serchuk, the marketing agent for National Amusements, is trying to sell the Secor Road and Spring Meadows theaters.
National Amusements is not actively marketing the Monroe Street theater because the company also owns the shopping center behind the cinema and is trying to lease empty spaces in the shopping center first, said Serchuk, who works for real estate company, Signature Associates.
People have expressed interest in using the Secor land for medical offices, hotels and fast food restaurants, and others have expressed interest in using the Spring Meadows property for hotels and retail stores, he said, adding that no contracts have been signed and the properties are still up for sale.
Serchuk said he thinks the buildings will be torn down because they don’t convert well to other facilities.
“They are divided into a lot of theaters and each theater has load-bearing walls and fire walls and you cannot open them up easily,” he said.
It is not unusual to have large buildings on the market for five years, but the economy has not helped, Serchuk said.
County Commissioner Ben Konop also attributed the empty buildings to the poor economy and called the theaters a “blight on the community.”
The many other empty buildings and commercial properties for sale might make it harder to sell the buildings, said Ford Weber, the president and CEO of the Lucas County Improvement Corporation.
“I think it’s going to be a bit of a challenge [to sell the properties] right now because there is a surplus of commercial property on the market and it’s very expensive to renovate a theater,” he said.