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Effort to lease Community Theatre still in spotlight

Updated 7:09 am, Wednesday, February 29, 2012
  • The owner of the Community Theatre at the intersection of Post and Unquowa roads has begun advertising the property's availability. Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Fairfield Citizen
    The owner of the Community Theatre at the intersection of Post and Unquowa roads has begun advertising the property's availability. Photo: Genevieve Reilly

 

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Now showing at the Community Theatre: Renewed efforts to lease the shuttered showcase.

Owner and landlord David Pollack over the weekend posted on the theater's iconic marquee a phone number to call for anyone interested in leasing the movie house at Post and Unquowa roads.

The Community closed last September, ostensibly for repairs. But a short time later, local resident Leo Redgate, who had re-opened the cinema a little over 10 years ago, decided to step down from day-to-day management of the theater.

"Suffice it so say Leo really has nothing to do with it at all at this point," Pollack said Monday, "and that's all I want to say."

Redgate had hoped to find someone to take over the theater operation, whether as a nonprofit or for-profit venture. He had established what was later known as the Community Film Institute to manage the theater, and the facilities were largely staffed by teen volunteers. When he left, however, there were questions about the foundation's financial viability, and several lawsuits had been filed against it by film distributors.

Both Pollack and Community and Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart said Monday there has been interest expressed by a number of parties in leasing the movie house.

"Over the last several months there have been some tire kickers," Pollack said, "but nothing's come to fruition yet."

He said he hopes to sign a new tenant who will continue to use the space as a movie theater.

"We've had several inquiries," Barnhart said, adding that all the plans with which he is familiar contemplate the downtown building's continued use as a movie theater.

Barnhart said there are some "challenges" with the property, "not the least of which is what we envision as some level of capital investment to upgrade the space."

However, he said, the level of interest in leasing the property is such that he believes the town will see "something positive happening there this year."