Wheaton Grand may return to cinema roots
By Robert Sanchez | Daily Herald StaffContact writer
If efforts fail to reopen the Wheaton Grand Theater for live performances, the 1920s movie house still could find a second life showing first-run films.
Classic Cinemas, the theater chain that restored the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, has surfaced as a potential buyer of the historic building in downtown Wheaton. On Wednesday, company officials confirmed they are investigating the possibility.
“It’s something we’re interested in,” said Chris Johnson, co-owner of Classic Cinemas. “We’re definitely taking a look because we know the possibilities that are there.”
The Wheaton Grand’s fate has been in limbo since November when Wheaton park board members scrapped a plan to borrow millions to renovate the Hale Street building. But the possibility of the theater changing hands is a recent development.
Grand Theater Corp., the not-for-profit group that oversees management of the Wheaton Grand, is on the verge of losing ownership of the building after falling behind on a loan of about $800,000. Foreclosure proceedings have started and Grand Theater Corp. is expected to surrender the deed to the bank.