Edina Cinema partners with Mann Theater to reopen icon

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The historic Edina cinema plans to reopen next spring after closing operations during the pandemic.

Owner Suzanne Haugland said when moviegoers line up for fresh popcorn and fill new reclining seats, it will be two years since the cinema went dark. Landmark Theaters, which had operated the theater since 2003, returned the keys in March and Haugland announced the iconic theater on the 50 and France would not reopen unless a new operator took over the lease.

Bloomington-based Mann Theaters, which operates seven other theaters in the state, has been contacted by the city as a potential operator, co-owner Michelle Mann said. Her father, Steve Mann, actually owned Edina Cinema in the 1980s. Now the Mann family will be involved in operations again as they seek to sign a five-year lease with Haugland just five months after negotiations began.

“People want to come to the movies, especially after COVID,” said Michelle Mann. “You can stream stuff in your home, sure, but there’s nothing quite like the cinema experience. And we’ve been seeing the recovery here over the last six months, and it’s so exciting to see how supportive and enthusiastic people are. “

A renovation of about $ 1.5 million will update the cinema, built in 1934 and last renovated in the 1980s, and the city is providing a forgivable loan of $ 300,000 through Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the city. The authority met last week to approve the loan, as long as the cinema remains operational for six years or more after the initial reopening date. City council approved a $ 200,000 grant through the American Rescue Plan Act in early September.

Mayor Jim Hovland said the city’s contribution to restoring the theater shows how important it is to the community who want to see it reopen and be successful.

“When we were faced with the prospect of the theater closing, I was getting emails and calls from people in all of the Twin Cities who really cared about coming to Edina, having dinner and going to the theater,” did he declare. “It has been such a vital part of our community, but it was really interesting to see how much it meant to others as well.”

Hovland said the Edina Cinema was not only of historical significance to the community, but was a successful element for the 50th and France’s commercial corridor, and that the reopening of the theater would provide a ” economic boost “to the region.

“It just brings more vitality to the 50th and to France and that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

Mann Theaters closed at its Hopkins site in November 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The closed Mann Hopkins Cinema 6 property was intended for redevelopment and was to be the site of a new apartment complex. The people of Edina feared that this would also be the fate of her cinema. Hopkins’ director of planning and economic development Kersten Elverum said the apartment concept was rejected by owner Beard Group and the cinema remained vacant.

But Mann Theaters believes Edina will be another successful renovation like in St. Paul where she upgraded two art deco influenced theaters – Grandview and Highland – both built in the 1930s that Mann Theaters renovated ago. four years.

“We didn’t come to try to do something modern, we gave it back its original look and style,” she said.

As with these projects, Mann said Edina will be modernized but will retain its historic qualities. A major renovation includes the replacement of 1,200 theater chairs with approximately 550 luxury lounge chairs. Mann said this represented a 60% decrease in seating capacity to accommodate larger, reclining seats.

Another large business can be found in the mezzanine, on the second floor of the four-story theater. Haugland envisioned a bar that could be rented out for events. Mann’s brother and co-owner Michael Mann came up with the idea of ​​transforming the space by taking inspiration from the 1980 movie “The Shining” by replicating the aesthetic of the Gold Room bar and even copying the bar’s red toilets. .

“We are going to meet our architects and contractors and try to execute this plan and make it something so special and unique in the Twin Cities,” said Michelle Mann.

The concession stands, lobby, four auditoriums, vestibule, sound system and screens will be completely transformed, she said. But three aspects of the Edina cinema will be intact: the colorful art deco carpet, the marquee and the theater sign. Mann said they will be restored and repaired, but said “these three things will be kept exactly as they are.”

Haugland said as soon as the lease is finalized and signed, renovations will be underway. She said the project would not be possible without community support and financial support from the city.

“It was impossible for this to happen without the help of the city,” she said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled. Everyone is absolutely thrilled he’s coming back.”

Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751


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