Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, delays announcement of tenant newstrendslive

The owners of Park Ridge’s much-loved Pickwick Theatre had planned a Thursday announcement of the new tenant who will operate the theater, but said early Thursday they are delaying that news.

Co-owners Dino Vlahakis and Dave Loomos, who plan to step down from operating the theater, said they are still making arrangements with a prospective tenant.

“It was such a short window and as everybody knows, this is a big deal,” Vlahakis said. “It’s probably going to take a little longer… it’s going to be a couple of weeks down the line.”

Vlahakis and Loomos had hoped to announce the heir to the PIckwick’s 900-seat, 1928-vintage auditorium and four smaller theaters at their final screening of Gone With the Wind, set for 7 p.m. Thursday.

But Vlahakis said a final agreement will take a little longer than they’d hoped.

He and Loomos announced they’d close the theater Dec. 6. They have said they plan to retain ownership of the building, which has 24 other tenants, and after evaluating a number of offers to lease the movie facilities, Vlahakis said they’re still approaching the finish line with a tenant.

“You want to make sure to dot the i’s, you want to make sure the wording is correct,” Vlahakis said. “A few words can mean different things, so we’ve got to be very careful how stuff is worded.”

A person walks outside the Pickwick Theatre Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022 in Park Ridge. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)

The Pickwick’s general manger, Kathryn Tobias, will run the movie operation until April 1, Vlahakis said.

Tobias, 39, has worked at the Pickwick since she was 17 — starting out as a candy and concessions worker and eventually becoming the general manager. She said she’s excited to run the program at the theater for the next few months.

“I hope that people will come out and still support us,” Tobias said. “I’m really looking forward to the 2023 movie lineup. And I love movies. Movies are an escape. They’re like a dream.”

Tobias said she plans to continue hosting the Park Ridge Classic Films series, hosted by Park Ridge Library employee Matthew Hoffman, while she’s in charge of the theater.

She also has a few pictures in mind for while she’s programming the theater, including 80 For Brady and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. She’s also hoping to show some movies that will be brand new to the Pickwick.

“I’m looking into some other movies that we’ve never played in the past; we’ve never played the Scream movies or Creed,” she said.

Creed III opens March 3; Scream 6 opens March 10.

As for what the new operators will bring to the building, which is both a local landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tobias said she hoped movies would still show in the space but said she realizes the next chapter could bring change.

“I would love it if it was still a movie theater, but I don’t know what the future holds,” she said.

Vlahakis said he hopes to see the new tenants take over the theater by April 1, but said that date isn’t a firm deadline.

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