By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on March 29, 2022.
Eight expressions of interest were filed with the city regarding of the Monarch Theatre – an “encouraging number” according to top officials at city hall who will now launch a more formal process to purchase or lease the historic Second Street movie house.
“It’s very exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing some creative ideas,” said public services committee chair Coun. Ramona Robbins.
The city acquired the theatre in June 2021 with a last-minute offer before the building became property of the province as the City Centre Development Agency was dissolved.
At that point, elected and administrative officials said they had little interest in operating the venue as an arm of City Hall, but were rather acting to secure some assets for downtown stakeholders while ensuring local ownership.
This winter the city put out a call to interested parties, a process that ended Feb. 28.
“We were looking for community interest to describe what sort of programming of opportunity they saw, but it also opened it up to a variety of different ownership structures,” said the division’s managing director Brian Mastel. “We’re working through the (submissions) now, and are very encouraged by the number and variety of ideas that different groups have for the facility.
“Our expectation is to move to (calling for) requests for proposals (RFP); there’s enough interest in the community and now insight into what the groups are looking to put into a RFP. That was our intent.”
The theatre was closed by Landmark Cinemas then purchased by the CCDA in late 2000s with help of a $200,000 loan from the city. The city’s purchase price was $200,000 less $60,000, the amount still owing on the loan.