The show, as they say, must go on. And maybe, for St. Michael’s sake, it will.
After a week that showed all signs pointing to a church, not a theater, opening soon in the former Cinemagic building on O’Day Avenue in St. Michael, an official announcement was made by the St. Michael Cinema ownership group over the weekend.
The movies are back.
The purchase agreement with Riverside Church, which was cleared last week thanks to action from the St. Michael City Council and Minneapolis Federal Court, was not completed Friday. That allows St. Michael Cinema to move forward with its plans for a second run at a local theater.
“Riverside Church had an option to purchase the theatre building but that option expired on Friday, April 24. There is no longer a purchase agreement in place. In other words, the St. Michael Cinema will be re-opening as a movie theatre in the very near future,” the ownership group wrote via its social media site on Facebook.
A representative from the ownership group, who asked not to be named, told North Wright County Today earlier this month the purchase agreement was in place and the sale was pending on the outcome on the court case. However, it appears Riverside Church didn’t meet its time window, and the arrangement expired.
That’s allowed St. Michael Cinema, which took on the duties of cleaning up the former Cinemagic site – complete with new paint, wiring, carpeting and even seats – to move ahead with its plans of a theater and grill/bar.
“Beginning in early December, we began the process of bringing the theatre back to life, and that process has continued even during these past few difficult weeks. We are indeed getting close to being open. For example, Screen #1, the former IMAX auditorium, is now awaiting only the addition of new seats. As previously indicated, we expect to open close to Memorial Day weekend. Please keep watching this page for further announcements, and as always, we appreciate your interest in the St Michael Cinema. We are all looking forward to serving you!” the statement concludes.
Riverside has issued this statement regarding its failure to execute on the purchase agreement, via its website:
“…Last fall, we had our financing approved from both our church and our lender to complete a signed purchase agreement. The final requirement was city [City of St. Michael] approval, which was denied last November. Following the city denial, the price of the theater more than doubled.
“This week we received the building appraisal which was not adequate for the needed financing at the increased purchase price. So despite the progress we’ve made, the city’s [City of St. Michael] past actions have created significant financial barriers which make it impossible at this time for Riverside to exercise the option to purchase the theater.
“As we regroup following this disappointment, we are thankful that our lawsuit has already had a positive effect. It has changed St. Michael’s unlawful ordinance and, we trust, will discourage other cities from unlawfully restricting churches.
“I want to be clear that we are not done looking for a second site or with the legal process. We are currently evaluating our alternatives for a second location, including exploring other possible means to purchase the theater. As we move forward, we trust that God will show us His good purpose and the best path to follow. We ask for your prayers and continued support in this effort.”