Encore possible with new tenant interested in Park Ridge's Pickwick Theatre

A landmark theater in Chicago’s northwest suburbs may get an encore performance thanks to a potential new occupant.

It's the storybook ending longtime fans of the Pickwick Theatre have been hoping for, ever since the owners announced its closure earlier this winter

After entertaining the masses for decades, Dino Vlahakis, and his business partner, Dave Loomos, announced they would be saying ‘farewell’ to film.

Vlahakis is preparing to enter a new chapter of his own – retirement.

"The last three years were pretty challenging, like any business," said Vlahakis. "I think it’s time for a fresh, new look. Someone young, just as excited when I started the business."

Until now, the beloved theater was set to go dark later this week, but recently, Vlahakis says groups have shown interest in moving into the movie house.

Much to the relief of residents, the ending credits for the theater may not be rolling after all.

"We’ve come to an agreement with the new tenants, now it’s in the hands of our attorneys," said Vlahakis.

The family will still own the building, but the new tenant would take over the space.

"There will be a new group operating the movie theater on Friday, January 20th and the people who are actually going to end up taking the whole complex will be on April 1st," said Vlahakis.

Who that tenant is has yet to be announced, but Vlahakis told FOX 32 Chicago they plan to refurbish the theater.

"They're planning a major remodeling," said Vlahakis. "I’ve heard they are going to spend upwards of $8 million dollars on refurbishing the Pickwick."

Residents can likely expect a hybrid concept – movies and live entertainment, Vlahakis said.

Originally built in 1928, the movie house has been in the Vlahakis family since 1967, when Dino Vlahakis’s father purchased it. Vlahakis then took over in 1981.

The Art Deco building is on the National Register of Historic Places.  

"It’s the center of Park Ridge, it’s a landmark, it’s what everybody thinks of so it would be a tragedy for it to go away," said Robert Carson, who lives in Park Ridge.

Community members say they are now looking forward to an ‘encore.’

"I’ve been here long enough to see a lot of the changes that have gone on here, but I like the fact that the Pickwick is still an anchor or a foundation for us," said Karen Uhler, a community member.

Vlahakis will roll his last film Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. He'll be playing "Gone With the Wind," which is the very first film he opened with.

Tickets for Vlahakis’s final showing are still available, but going fast.