While Magic Lantern Theatres is still in the process of planning its new five-screen theatre, the company's plans for downtown in general are ramping up with the demolition of an older building on Tuesday.
The now demolished building and vacant lot, which is located beside the BMO on 101st St., is owned by the company.
Tom Hutchinson, president of Magic Lantern Theatres said the company has bought up a few lots on the 1100 block of 101st St. and has started renovating them to help make downtown North Battleford more attractive for when the new five-screen theatre opens.
“In the minds of some people, particularly those who live in the suburban areas, downtown is a bad place. We knew for them to feel comfortable coming downtown at night we were going to have to make sure downtown was a little cheerier than it had been.”
“So we bought the run down properties because we know by fixing them up and getting good quality tenants, it would make the downtown much nicer for our movie goers.”
“We thought it would make a really great area for a patio if we could get a restaurant tenant,” said Hutchinson on the plans for the vacant lot. “That is where we are at now. We could open up the side of the other building and put in some windows and a door.”
Hutchinson said nothing is set in stone just yet for the vacant lot. He added the space could make for a great small outdoor performance area, or they could decide to create a new building. According to Hutchinson, the company is open to ideas from anyone willing to sign a lease, but a decision will have to be made by spring so they can start construction. Hutchinson said they also own the lot right beside it and the plan is to use them both in tandem.
Hutchinson said he would like to provide customers a more “contemporary” place to have a drink or bite to eat after they see a movie than what is already available downtown.
He added it will be at least a year before the five-screen theatre opens as construction hasn’t started yet.
He added the company had no choice but to demolish the building on 101st St. as it would have cost up to $500,000 to bring it up to code.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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