Freeport cinema now expected to open next summer

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

FREEPORT — The six-screen movie theater planned for the corner of Depot and Mill streets could open next summer.

Al Yebba, chief operating officer of Berenson Associates, developer of Freeport Village Station, said it took several months but the money needed to continue the project has been raised from lenders and investors.

“There were a lot of people involved and a lot of support as well,” he said. “The hope is that we can have this done mid-year and open the theater. It’s a little later than we hoped, but this has been a very challenging financial arrangement.”

The theater was initially expected to open in November, but funding problems delayed the project.

In August, the Town Council voted 5-2 to increase the current cap on the Destination Freeport Tax Increment Financing District from $11.4 million to $20 million, and dedicated $20,000 of the funds annually for 10 years for a downtown movie theater.

Their decision also extends the TIF an additional 10 years to 2029, and creates a  downtown arts and culture district.

At that time, Berenson Associates withdrew a request for an additional $550,000 TIF on the parking garage reconfiguration to help build the $2.3 million theater after hearing public comments from residents and business owners last July.

Because Berenson withdrew its request, it took longer to raise the money needed to build the theater, Yebba said.

Belmont Capitol is the proposed theater operator. The company is part of what used to be the Boston Culinary Group, and owns 20 theaters from Bangor to New Jersey, ranging from art houses to multiplex cinemas.

Yebba said he will return to Freeport to discuss signs for the theater and will seek approval from the Project Review Board as soon as next month.

“It has been a long process, but we are very excited to move forward,” he said. “We are looking forward to the next steps.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

0