By COLLIN GALLANT on January 26, 2022.
City Hall has put out a call for expressions of interest toward reopening the Monarch Theatre.
The movie house on Second Street downtown has been closed since it was purchased by the City of Medicine Hat in June, aside from a come-and-go 110th birthday party last month.
This week’s meeting of council’s public services division heard the process is now underway to identify potential operators and evaluate proposals to reopen the historic venue.
“We’re looking forward to hearing from people, what their vision is for the theatre and discussing it with them,” said Brian Mastel, managing director of the division.
The process that opened Jan. 20 will close Feb. 28, and is being handled by the city’s cultural development office in conjunction with the purchasing department. Top officials told reporters in the fall the city’s economic development office, Invest Medicine Hat, would handle the process.
An “expression of interest” process asks that groups or businesses interested in taking over present outlines and estimates for their proposals. It is non-binding.
A related bid package states the city will entertain proposals toward operational contract, lease or purchase of the 400-seat theatre, but other arrangements could be considered.
A walkthrough of the facility is available in mid-February, and committee members hear this week that staff will be available throughout the month to work with interested parties.
The city purchased the theatre in late June to avoid it falling into legal limbo after theatre owner, the City Centre Development Agency, was dissolved. The purchase price was $205,000, but when an outstanding loan of $60,000 was factored in the cash involved was $145,000.
Officials said in late 2021 committee meetings that since the building was closed there was little expense aside from utilities, insurance and basic maintenance performed by the city building services office.