Barberton city officials are continuing to negotiate with the owner of the Lake Cinemas 8 to keep the downtown theater from closing. Owner Phil Canfora tells AkronNewsNow he has now made a new offer to the city. " We determined because of the expensive cost of replacing the HVAC system that would be required that it would not be feasible to lease the building as we originally proposed to the city, so we've made an offer to buy the building."
Canfora says he also needs to revamp the theaters to receive digital downloads of new movies instead of the film the theaters use now. That delivery method is being phased out later this year and it will cost nearly $400,000 to convert to the new technology.
Canfora says it doesn't make sense to just rent the theaters when he would have to spend so much to renovate and upgrade the building.
"There are 16 air conditioners that need replaced at a cost of between $10,000 and $20,000 apiece. If we replace those and you multiply that out it's an enormous sum of money. As a tenant we would have to replace those and the building would still belong to the city at the end of five yeats. The cost of repairs would far exceed the rent,"says Canfora.
Phil Canfora says he made a good offer to the city to purchase the structure.
Barberton City Council President Fred Maurer says the city has to reach some type of agreement to save the theaters because they are vital to the downtown area and other businesses.
" Dinner and a movie are a common Saturday night theme for most people, so by keeping the theater open it helps the local restaurants. we have several very nice restaurants downtown. Basically it is one of our anchor buildings, its one of the more prominent buildings downtown.It's been a theater now since the 1930's, and really isn't suitable for much else, Maurer tells AkronNewsNow.
Maurer says he also realizes there have been a lot of technology changes in the film industry, and without a digital upgrade Canfora wouldn't be able to operate the Lake Cinema 8 theaters in the future.