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City announces plans for new movie theater

A new movie theater could be in the works for the City of Lockport.

Marcus Theatres, a division of The Marcus Corporation, recently closed the sale on an approximately 7-acre property located off Interstate 355 and 159th Street, and is currently working toward submitting its engineering, elevations and site plans to the City for consideration as early as February or March 2018.

“We’re very excited about potential for an 8-10 screen theater, entertainment complex, with restaurant and bar on site,” City Administrator Ben Benson said. “It’s a very nice amenity coming to the City of Lockport.”

Marcus Theatres could make up part of a multi-tenant development dubbed Lockport Square that includes Panera Bread, Holiday Inn Express and other retailers, which have not yet been confirmed by the City.

Benson said the theater is not an average cinema.

“This is one of those full-amenity, leather seat kind of places,” he said.

The property was previously occupied by Target Corporation, and has been vacant close to 10 years. With the downturn in the economy, redevelopment plans for the site stalled.

“That shopping center went under and went back to the banks, and they had to have a new developer, [Lockport Square Investment Group and Janko Group,] come buy it and bring it out of bankruptcy, so it could be sold and be redeveloped with [the City],” Benson said. “That takes time.”

The City intends to institute a $12 million sales tax incentive agreement to encourage the redevelopment effort, and it stipulates that half of the revenue generated by Lockport’s two percent sales tax will be shared with the developer over a 20-year period.

Benson said bringing in Marcus Theatres could play a vital role in retaining resident and non-resident sales tax dollars.

“I can definitely project that we’ll get more sales tax dollars from it, I just can’t tell you what the estimates will be,” Benson said, noting that these details would become available closer to February or March 2018.

It is the City’s intent to fill a need they feel is present in the area they serve.

“I think the residents feel underserved when it comes to restaurant and entertainment opportunities,” Benson said. “This is just another one of those things that we can bring to help satisfy that desire from the residents.”

The City anticipates construction on the building in question beginning by the end of 2018, with an opening date tentatively set for the end of 2019.

“It’s a good sign that they’re actually closing on the property already,” Benson said.

Marcus Theatres is the fifth largest theatre circuit in the United States, according to its website. It owns and operates 681 screens at 55 locations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and North Dakota.

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