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Renovations on Old Chatham 14 Theaters Behind Schedule

By Wendell Hutson | August 13, 2014 8:39am
 The redevelopment of the former Chatham 14 Theaters was originally scheduled to be completed by June 2014 but has yet to begin.
The redevelopment of the former Chatham 14 Theaters was originally scheduled to be completed by June 2014 but has yet to begin.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

CHATHAM — Moviegoers by now were supposed to be able to drink a beer or order a meal from a waiter at Studio Movie Grill-Chatham, but instead customers must still get their snacks and beverages from the concession stand.

The owner of the former Chatham 14 Theaters, 210 W. 87th St., said it is waiting for city approvals before beginning renovations, which were expected to begin in February and end by June.

"We got pushed back a bit trying to get licenses and approvals from the city," said Lynne McQuaker, a spokeswoman for Studio Movie Grill in Plano, Texas.

But according to data from the city's Buildings Department, the theater received a permit on April 21 and as of Tuesday no other permits had been issued.

Some longtime customers said their patience is wearing thin.

"I have been coming here since it opened in 1997 when it was called ICE Chatham 14, then Chatham 14 Theaters last year and now Studio Movie Grill," said Walter Childs, a 67-year-old Grand Crossing resident. "My wife and I come to Chatham to see a movie every weekend and we're looking forward to coming more often once alcohol is available."

Rosemary Burns, 75, said she goes to the theater three times a week with other seniors from her West Chatham neighborhood.

"The community room is what I was looking forward to the most. There's not a lot of places in Chatham that provide meeting rooms for seniors," Burns said.

In January, Studio Movie Grill announced a redevelopment plan for the theater that included eliminating the concession stand and allowing customers to drink alcohol and eat dinner while watching a movie.

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), whose ward includes the movie theater, said he still supports the redevelopment plan.

"The theater will have bigger seats, wider aisles and allow customers to purchase tickets and reserve seats online at no additional cost," Brookins said.

He added that ticket prices would remain the same at $10 for adults and $7.50 for children 12 and under.

Once the redevelopment is complete the Chatham theater would resemble the ShowPlace ICON Theatre, 1011 S. Delano Court, where customers can order drinks, alcohol and food inside and reserve seats online but at a cost of as much as $19 for adults.

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