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Still no deal for downtown cinema co-op

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Apr 25, 2014 - 4:16 PM |
Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative member Beth Mairs is seen at the theatre in the Rainbow Centre Mall in February. The group still hasn't gotten a formal response to a tenancy proposal they submitted to mall management earlier this year. File photo.

Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative member Beth Mairs is seen at the theatre in the Rainbow Centre Mall in February. The group still hasn't gotten a formal response to a tenancy proposal they submitted to mall management earlier this year. File photo.

Group waiting for mall's response to tenancy proposal

At the end of February, a group working to locate a cinema co-op to the defunct theatre in the Rainbow Centre Mall was optimistic it was close to securing a tenancy agreement with mall management.

It was aiming to take over the space by April 1.

But two months later, the Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative is still waiting for a response from mall management about its proposal, said Beth Mairs, a member of the group.


They did receive some informal feedback from mall management that they were “expecting too quick of a turnaround” and they needed to be patient.

About a month ago, they also heard they'd have a written response to their proposal from mall management within a week. But they still haven't received this response, Mairs said.

“It just sort of feels like it doesn't bode well,” she said. “As someone said, if this is how we're dealt with before we sign on the dotted line, what happens after?”

Northern Life put a call into Joe Zito, the mall's vice-president of operations and leasing, about the matter, but he didn't immediately respond.

Mairs said the situation is frustrating for the group, as they put a lot of work into the proposal.

They even went through its terms with Zito prior to its submission. After that meeting, their “understanding was that it was all acceptable,” Mairs said.

The co-op has also been trying to attract government grants for the facility, but that's on hold until they have a tenancy agreement, as they have to prove they have a premises.

The plan is to use the venue's six theatres for a variety of purposes. Digital projectors will be installed in two of the theatres, and both second-run Hollywood films and art films will be screened.

The co-op has also received multiple proposals for what to do with the rest of the venue, although nothing is firm at this point.

They've been approached by live theatre groups, a filmmaker hoping to use some of the space for post-production and the Radisson Hotel, which would like to use the venue as overflow space for conferences.

Ian Carlyle, also a member of the co-op, said the delay is “pretty disheartening,” considering all the support there is for the project. “Without a lease in place, we can't go further than where we are right now,” he said.
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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