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That Old, Run-down Movie Theater Parking Lot Is Going To Become a Park

By Benjamin Woodard | March 17, 2015 5:43am

NORTH PARK — The 2-acre parking lot attached to a vacant movie theater "eyesore" on McCormick Road will be transformed into a simple park with turf, a state official said.

"It’s been there for a long time," said David St. Pierre, executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which owns the property. "We worked for the past 10 years with different scenarios of people having interest in developing something. It just has never quite made it to the finish line."

Residents living near the lot and former movie theater call it an eyesore and have been pushing both the city and reclamation district to fix up the property. They said it attracts criminals and gang activity.

Ben Woodard explains why the lot is vacant:

Last week, the theater's owner, a Hebrew day school, announced a plan to sell the theater to a developer who planned to convert the structure — and neighboring former car wash — into a three-story public storage facility.

That's when St. Pierre promised to rip up the parking lot and plant grass. He said he would seek approval Thursday from the district's board of commissioners.

The work, however, would be limited to sod until the neighborhood decides on the best use for the property, St. Pierre said.

A community meeting is planned soon.

St. Pierre said the district has a 2-inch-thick folder of development proposals collected over the years for the property. None of them — including one for an LA Fitness, a senior living facility and a school — has ever materialized.

"There’s always been some kind of interested party," he said.

Meanwhile, the Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School aims to close on a deal with Banner Storage Group to sell the theater.

The school released renderings last week of the proposed facility.

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