Lake Cinemas 8 Operator Phil Canfora's offer to the city of Barberton to buy the theater building was rejected by city officials Thursday evening prompting Canfora to announce the theater complex in downtown Barberton would close January 15th. Canfora had opted to try and buy the building instead of signing a new lease for the property. Canfora cited the need to replace the theater building's air conditioning system at a cost of $300,000, and other costs to update the building. He told AkronNewsNow he would be hesitant to spend that much to fix up the building plus another $400,000 to upgrade the theaters for digital delivery of movies, if he would only be leasing the structure and it would still be owned by the city.
Canfora said he offered $400,000 for the building, but Barberton officials wanted $100,000 more.
Canfora and the city had been trying to negotiate a new agreement to lease the building to keep the theater complex open. Several city council members including council president Fred Maurer felt it was important to keep Lake Cinemas 8 open to boost the downtown area and several restaurants operating there.
News Release From Lake Entertainment Group Ltd.
January 15th will be the last day to see a movie at Lake Cinemas 8 in Barberton under the management of Lake Entertainment Group Ltd.
This announcement came from the company’s president Phil Canfora Sr. who added that they have been working with the City of Barberton for almost a year to try to reach an agreement that will allow Lake 8 to stay open. Both sides tried to find a way to reach an agreement, but it always came back to a money issue.
Our first option was to continue to lease, but with over $300,000.00 of HVAC equipment nearing the end of its life, we could not enter into an agreement that would make us responsible for its replacement.
We considered purchasing the complex and made what we felt was a more than fair offer of $400,000.00, but we ended up almost $100,000.00 below what the city would accept. The business would not support this level of investment, so our only option is to close the doors. We are also facing the conversion of the projection equipment to digital, and that has a very hefty cost of over $400,000.00 on top of the lease or purchase of the property from the city of Barberton.
All staff members were called on the phone immediately, and we canceled the “Save the Lake” event that one of our supporters had arranged for this Saturday.
We pledge our support to help any qualified operator that the city sells or leases the property to and for the city and citizens’ benefit, will do all that we can, despite the heavy financial losses we have suffered and over 10 years of our time that we have invested for naught.
We thank everyone who wrote letters, emails, and made phone calls on our behalf, and we also want to thank our loyal customers. We will all miss Lake 8.