Two investment groups out of five original bidders are following different paths to pursue plans to take control of the Highland Park Theater from the City and continue to operate it as an entertainment venue.
After receiving broad proposals from five suitors, the Highland Park City Council narrowed the candidates to three—AMC Entertainment, Big Rock LLC and Alcyon Foundation—according to a statement made by Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering Monday at a City Council meeting.
Big Rock and Alcyon met with the City to discuss their ideas while AMC was not available to talk, according to Rotering. Alcyon wants to enter into a long term lease with the City while Big Rock would buy both the theater and part of an adjoining parking lot to develop its project.
“Big Rock, LLC’s proposal contemplated the purchase of the theater property for a de minimums amount and the purchase of a portion of the adjoining parking lot for a below market amount,” Rotering said. Using private equity and bank loans, Big Rock suggests building a three to five screen theater and additional retail space.
Alcyon would like to lease the property from the City on a long-term basis and renovate it through private fundraising. “The proposal contemplates multi-use programming to include live theater, music, dance, film festivals, educational programming and private events,” Rotering said.
Alcyon now has 90 days to complete its due diligence and submit both feasibility and business plans. Big rock is driving a harder bargain.
“The City offered the theater partner of Big Rock the opportunity to discuss a more market-appropriate approach to purchasing the theater,” Rotering said. Before it proceeds, Big Rock wants either an exclusive agreement or City payment for its due diligence.