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New Grand Theater opening pushed to November

Investor Kevin Donovan cites COVID-19 pandemic as reason for multiple delays.

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Worthington's New Grand Theater stands near the intersection of North Grand Avenue and Darling Drive. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — One delay after another — many of them blamed on the inability to get critical supplies — has pushed the anticipated opening of Worthington’s New Grand Theater into November, according to one of its investors.

Kevin Donovan appeared before the Worthington City Council on Monday night to present an update on the nearly $3.8 million building that will house five screens.

Donovan reported that the entire inside has been painted, carpeting has been laid in the mezzanine and all five movie projectors have arrived. He said specially ordered sinks have also arrived, but they are waiting on an inspector from the state to visit and inspect the sinks before they are actually installed.

“The curtains are in, but not on the walls,” Donovan said. “We had 36 lights come in (Sunday) for sconces in the five auditoriums.

“Because of COVID, there are a lot of setbacks on what we needed,” he added.

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Bright Star, a theater company tasked with installing the theater seats, traveled to Michigan to inspect and approve them for shipment. Donovan said the seats should show up this week or next.

“Once Bright Star gets in there, things will really start rolling,” Donovan said, adding that the floors will get an epoxy coating after the seats are in place.

If everything comes together in a timely manner, Donovan said they “really hope” to be open for the holiday season, which starts Nov. 8.

“A lot depends on California and New York,” he told council members. “They dictate when movies come out. Right now, with all the COVID going on, we’re really wondering if there will be holiday movies.”

Mayor Mike Kuhle expressed his anger regarding the continued delays, and said that in June the city was given a commitment that the theater would open by July 1.

“That’s come and gone,” he said. “We need to get this thing open. There’s movies out there to show.

“The residents of Worthington have over $3 million invested in this facility.”

“And we have $1 million invested in it,” replied Donovan. “Mayor, I don’t know what else to tell you.”

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Kuhle asked where they were at with the concessions area, to which Donovan repeated that they are waiting for the state inspector to look at the sinks. Once they are OK’ed, Colonial Cabinets will construct what is needed based on the plans they already have.

“We have done everything possible we can,” Donovan said. “There’s just been delays on a lot of things. I would think you’d understand that. We’re not holding this back for any reason.

“The material and equipment hasn’t come in. It’s been ordered, it’s been paid for. We are waiting for it.”

Councilman Chad Cummings shared that it is taking longer to get items, saying he ordered new furniture and it took six months for it to arrive.

“If you have done any building in the last year, you can be lucky to get the stuff,” added Councilman Larry Janssen.

Donovan said the theater seats they have coming aren’t exactly what they had wanted, but three different manufacturers went out of business in the last year. He said they were lucky to get the seats they have on order. They were intended for another theater that canceled a 3,000-seat order.

Councilwoman Alaina Kolpin inquired about the search for employees to work at the theater, considering the difficulty in staffing. Donovan said job applications are available online at westmall7.com.

New Grand Theater operator Todd Frager has been on site regularly to see that work continues to move forward.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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