News Column

Princess reopening hoped for by end of year

May 19, 2014

By Eric Robinette, Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio



May 19--OXFORD -- After a fire in March shut down Oxford's movie theater, its owners hope to make more improvements to the Princess Theater and re-open it by the end of the year, if all goes as planned.

This includes not only repairing the fire damage, but finalizing the conversion to digital projection and possibly adding one more screen to the four-screen complex, said Lindsey Myers, one of the partners in the theater. However, he noted nothing is absolutely certain, with insurance claims still up in the air.

"We're going back and forth with the insurance companies on trying to get a settlement and figuring out what's going to be covered. We're in the middle of that. Once we've figured that out, we'll have a better time frame of when it will be back open," he said.

The theater had been closed for many months in 2013 after a change in ownership. The owners had hoped to reopen the theater with these new improvements, but they knew people in the community wanted their movies back, so they accelerated the opening to last November, without any major improvements. The fire struck only four months later, in March.

As damaging as the fire was, in a way it's been beneficial, because it's forced the owners to act on the changes they wanted to make all along, Myers said.

"Always our intention was to upgrade the theater with new seating, new lighting, digital projectors, all of that stuff ... we knew when we bought the theater it was going to have to go that way. When the fire did happen, we were kind of getting our ducks in a row to start doing that," he said.

Now that the fire has forced the delay, "We can get in there and do everything we intended on doing all in one swoop," said Myers.

If a fifth screen is added, it would be a "VIP" theater with a very small capacity of only about 40 seats, which would be created by modifying the original larger screen. Having more screens would also allow the Princess to rotate movies faster.

The fire started because of malfunction in the ice machine in the concession area, said Fire Chief John Detherage. It was primarily confined to the lobby, though the building as a whole did suffer smoke damage, he said. He did not have a damage estimate immediately available.

When all is said and done, "We want to get it right for the city of Oxford and give them something special if we can," Myers said.

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(c)2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

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Source: Hamilton Journal News (OH)


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