Wheaton to pursue third opinion on Grand Theater
By Robert Sanchez | Daily Herald StaffContact writer
Wheaton officials are going to hire another consulting firm to examine whether the Wheaton Grand Theater can be a financial success if it’s restored.
After two consulting firms reached opposite conclusions about whether a restored Wheaton Grand Theater could be an economic success, city officials want another independent study to break the tie.
The Wheaton City Council on Monday decided to spend $28,500 to hire Chicago-based Market and Feasibility Advisors to examine the viability of renovating and reopening the 1920s movie palace in downtown Wheaton.
“The interest in pursuing this type of project is broader economic development in the downtown area,” Councilman Phil Suess said. “As we look at alternatives, I think this is the most viable strategy for bringing people to the downtown. And the benefits that would result from that would be significant.”
The theater’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.
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.