Sleeping beauty is kissed awake by capital investors
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 16:09
The Princess Theater on High Street is officially on track to reopen her doors to Oxford, though future owner Lindsay Myers said the specific date remains unknown.
First established in 1911, an iconic keystone of Oxford’s Historic Uptown District closed Nov. 25, 2012. Oxford’s Economic Developer Alan Kyger said this occurred when Alliance Entertainment, the company presiding over the Princess Theater, sold 25 of 26 movie houses to Regal Cinemas.
Based in Albany, Ind., semi-retired owner Anne Ragains said she wished to turn the multiplexes over to the “big boys.” But the Princess and her four screens was half the size of the others.
“A local movie theater wasn’t exactly what they were looking for,” Kyger said. “But since Oxford has been so supportive over the years, it was a serious consideration to just donate the theater to the city.”
But before this became reality, a number of investors realized the Princess’s historical and financial value. Despite the usual difficulty of reselling and reusing movie theaters, Kyger said various offers were quickly coming in.
Alliance originally hoped to severe all ties with the theaters at the end of 2012, but waited for an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Four investors at Red Brick Property Management in Oxford thought it worthwhile to resurrect the historical landmark, and purchased the property for an undisclosed sum. While there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future, Myers said they are excited for what lies ahead. According to Myers, architect has been hired to assist in updating the Princess to current standards.
“We intend to replace the previously reel-to-reel screens with digital, as well as update the seats and the menu,” Myers said.
As for the future films shown at the Princess, Myers said he is excited over the number of options.
“While we will definitely be showing current releases, it is also possible we will offer a number of older classics,” Myers said. “We are also considering bringing foreign films to the house. Specifics are still to come, but when everything is finalized, we hope to give Oxford a movie theater like no one has seen before.”
Kyger said, despite the location and relative lack of available parking spots, he looks forward to having a theater in Oxford again.
“Oxford teenagers and Miami University students without cars will be able to enjoy a theater right here on High Street,” Kyger said. “The Princess Theater is the fabric of our community and we want to keep it that way.”
Miami students are also excited about the return of the Princess. Junior Haley Wright, a graphic design major hailing from Oxford, said she looks forward to the return of her childhood theater.
“The princess has created so many great memories in my life. I saw my very first movie there, and my love for all aspects of cinema has only grown since then. I intend on using my degree to create movie posters and title sequences because of my experiences at this theater,” Wright said. “Oxford really lost something special when it closed last year. I’m so happy to hear it will be up and running back where it belongs.”
For more information and future updates, people can like “Save the Princess Theater” on Facebook.