Carmike Cinema holds off on downtown theater project

NO EXPANSION: Carmike Cinemas has informed Big Rapids city staff the theater company will not be expanding its downtown movie theater in 2015. (Pioneer photo/Dan Meloy)

NO EXPANSION: Carmike Cinemas has informed Big Rapids city staff the theater company will not be expanding its downtown movie theater in 2015. (Pioneer photo/Dan Meloy)

BIG RAPIDS — Cinema lovers who were looking forward to watching the newest film in an expanded Big Rapids downtown movie theater are going to be disappointed.

Last week, officials from Carmike Cinema informed Big Rapids city staff the company is not interested in expanding its downtown location at 213 S. Michigan Ave.

City Manager Steve Sobers said the decision came from Carmike’s corporate office.

“I’m not privy to their financial bottom line,” Sobers said. “They were looking at a series of small-town theater renovations, and now none of them are going to be done. They are moving toward focusing on 12-screen location in larger metropolitan areas.”

Sobers said city staff remain in contact with Carmike Cinemas on a potential theater expansion down the road, but nothing is set for now.

“We are lobbying differently than what we were before,” Sobers said. “We’ve talked enough to know they were interested, and they have stayed in touch with us.”

The city arranged an agreement with Carmike Cinemas where the company had the option to purchase property surrounding its current location in order to make room for an expanded theater and parking lot.

“I believe the city has done as much as it can,” Mayor Mark Warba said. “Carmike owns and operates the theater, and it is down to their final decision. I don’t know if there is anything more the city can do.”

Carmike had the opportunity to extend its option to purchase the properties surrounding the theater, but Sobers said Carmike wasn’t interested in doing so.

“We are not saying the project is completely off,” Sobers said. “We are maintaining our relations and contact, but nothing is likely to happen before 2016. And my guess is it will be longer before something is done.”

 

3 comments on “Carmike Cinema holds off on downtown theater project

  1. avatarstewartthompson2

    Has the city approached other theater companies (Celebration, AMC, Goodrich, Northstar, Emagine)? Some quality competition might get Carmike to step up to the plate.

  2. avatarlobelia

    Streaming versus going to that depressing, smelly, uncomfortable venue, whose screens seem smaller than my own at home, factoring in the viewing distance? It aint close. And the KING agrees.

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