Prospective Buyer Withdraws Bid for Wheaton Grand Theater

Developer withdraws from deal to buy the Wheaton Grand Theater in downtown Wheaton after determining it'd be too costly to complete its vision for the property.

The prospective buyer of the has opted out of the purchase, after realizing the cost to complete the vision for the property would be too high, a Suburban Bank and Trust banker said Wednesday.

The bank-owned theater at 119 Hale St. in downtown Wheaton is "back on the market," said commercial banker Rob Siegel, who manages Other Real Estate Owned (OREO) at Suburban Bank and Trust, the bank that owns the property.

that the buyer is a local developer, who was in a 45-day due diligence period to crunch numbers and determine whether they would proceed with the sale.

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Siegel said the potential buyer had planned to use the theater's existing structure and contain remodeling to just the inside of the building. "They were looking to retrofit some of the property and it was going to be too expensive," he said.

The bank is now approaching other potential buyers, some they've talked to previously, Siegel said. He added, the bank is "exploring other avenues" for the property, such as contacting developers directly to discuss how the property should be used.

Siegel said the bank is marketing the property—which is not listed in any multiple listing service systems—internally. He said the bank has received "several" offers under $300,000 in the past year—a figure that is "way too low."

Gresk told Patch on March 21 that the future of the Wheaton Grand Theater, "all comes down to the money... We've had some serious people step up before and simply not be able to sort through the money and work it out with the bank."

The future of the 1925 theater has been a topic of discussion and debate since it closed in the late 90s. The theater showcased vaudeville performers and silent movies when it first opened. On opening day, May 25, 1925, there was a showing of a romantic drama, "The Dressmaker from Paris," starring Sally Rand.

Voters decided against an last spring, which asked whether the city should contribute taxpayer money for the restoration and operation of the theater.

Siegel said the bank is "re-evaluating things right now and (we) just want to move as quick as we can to come up with a solution."

While it may take "some time" to close on the property, Siegel said, "The bank remains committed to finding a beneficial solution to all concerned, (including) the bank, the community and the history of the theater."


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