Midwest City movie theatre to re-open ‘as soon as possible’
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
The Midwest City Warren Theatre plans to reopen again.
Regal Entertainment Group has agreed to buy the 10-screen movie theatre and will reopen it “as soon as possible” according to company officials.
Arvest Bank currently owns the theatre. Regal signed a purchase agreement for the property yesterday with a closing expected very soon, according to an attorney for Arvest.
“Arvest is proud to partner with Regal Entertainment Group to provide financing for its purchase of the Midwest City Warren Theatre,” according to an Arvest spokesperson.
The Midwest City Warren Theatre was owned by Bill Warren and Warren Theatres and operated by Regal Cinemas. It opened in August 2019, but closed seven months later due to the pandemic. It has remained closed since March 2020.
More troubles followed as Arvest Bank foreclosed on the property last fall. The previous owner MWC Warren Theatre, Inc. stopped making payments on the loan and faced a separate lawsuit from its contractor.
Arvest Bank took possession of the property earlier this year. It was put up for sale at a sheriff’s sale in March, but Arvest submitted the only bid. The bank paid $18 million for the theatre and additional property. The move helped clean up the title and set up a future sale.
The movie theatre property drew attention from several potential buyers, including Regal.
The Warren Theatre is the centerpiece of the Sooner Rose Shopping Center development near SE 15th St. and Sooner Rd. The development includes retail, restaurants, and an indoor entertainment complex.
Midwest City invested heavily in development of the commercial district, especially the Warren Theatre. The Midwest City Memorial Hospital Authority, a public trust, contributed about $6 million in land and $5 million in cash for development of the movie theatre.
The Midwest City Warren Theatre was built by Bill Warren, owner of Warren Theatres. At the time, Warren
operated theatres in Moore and Broken Arrow as well as Kansas and Missouri. The company later sold all of its other theatres, except the Midwest City location.
The city created a Tax
Incremental Finance or TIF District for property around the shopping center. Sales and use taxes generated within the geographical area will be used to pay back loans for purchasing land and improvements.
Construction of the theatre began in early 2018 and was originally slated to be complete by Christmas. Crews ran into several issues with the site early in the process. The city had relocated utility lines that ran through the property and removed several old underground fuel tanks.
The scheduled opening was pushed back until May 2019 and later July before it finally opened on Aug. 23, 2019.