GREENBELT – The Old Greenbelt Theatre is set to open Friday despite struggles with procuring the correct doors for the facility, according to city manager Mike McLaughlin. “May 1 is still the date. We are still confident,” McLaughlin said. “We’re installing the wrong doors we have, but we’re expecting them to replace them. It will […]
GREENBELT – The Old Greenbelt Theatre is set to open Friday despite struggles with procuring the correct doors for the facility, according to city manager Mike McLaughlin.
“May 1 is still the date. We are still confident,” McLaughlin said. “We’re installing the wrong doors we have, but we’re expecting them to replace them. It will look great and the average person will have no idea, but they’ll be replaced.”
The doors currently installed are fully operational, but are not the doors ordered by general contractor, Gardiner and Gardiner, according to Jim Sterling, acting director of public works.
“Final inspections on the theater were (Monday),” Sterling said. “Assuming there are no hiccups, the theater will open on Friday.”
Sterling said the doors currently installed are specially made of mahogany and shipped from Canada, so it takes weeks for them to finally arrive. There has been no word on when the proper doors will finally arrive, he said. It took 10 weeks for the current doors to finally arrive earlier this month.
“The detail of the door, the actual architectural design of the door, is different from what was specified. The doors that are up are very nice-looking doors, but unfortunately were just not the ones that were specified,” Sterling said.
The company that makes the doors is a sub-contractor to Gardiner and Gardiner, Sterling said. Sterling said as long does not run into any issues receiving permits, the theater will open on schedule and the grand opening will take place on May 29. The final approval should be on Wednesday, according to McLaughlin, and the theater will open Friday if everything goes as planned.
Mayor Emmett Jordan said he is excited about the soft opening on the first and is equally excited for the grand opening on May 29. It has been a long time coming with the theater, and renovating it so it could be accessible once again is a big accomplishment, he said.
“So many people who I’ve talked to around the county and even in places like D.C. and Virginia come here. They love the Greenbelt Theatre and they love coming to Greenbelt,” Jordan said. “Having the theater open is really important for the economy and important for the Roosevelt center. The theater draws people here.”
Choosing a new operator for the theater is “something new,” Jordan said, but the plan the Friends of the Greenbelt Theater has is “very positive” and the city is looking forward to the group’s operation.
Councilman Rodney Roberts said he cannot predict whether the theater will do better than it has in the past, but he is confident in the selection of the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre.
“I don’t have a crystal ball. It’s hard to predict which way these things go,” Roberts said. “I hope that the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre are going to do well. I think they will because of the plan they have. But whether they do is the hundred dollar question. It is hard to operate a single-screen theater.”
Roberts said the theater will have competition with other movie theaters in the area as well as entertainment options at home. There will be people excited for the opening, he said, but keeping the numbers up will be the difficult task.
“I’m pretty sure that they’re going to do well in the short term. People are going to be energized and excited about the opening,” Roberts said. “The question is, can they do it over the long haul?”