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With Nostalgia, Wheaton Natives, Real Estate Agents List Wheaton Grand Theater

Wheaton natives and partners at Century 21 Real Estate list the Wheaton Grand Theater for $599,000.

Cousins Dave Brumfield and Noel Williams remember seeing "Star Wars" and paying $2 to see movies at the Wheaton Grand Theater.

When a social media connection led to a potential client for the Century 21 agents, the Wheaton natives "jumped" at the opportunity to see what they could do with the vacant, 12,000-square-foot building. Last week, they entered an agreement to list the bank-owned theater for $599,000.

"We spent some quality time there, growing up," Brumfield said. "It definitely has some sentimental value for us."

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Rob Siegel, commercial banker at Suburban Bank and Trust the team will market the property at 119-127 N. Hale St. locally, regionally and nationally. He said they will also "explore" the potential for land development.

"Hopefully with them at the rein, we'll have some success," Siegel said.

As a kid, Brumfield said he remembers seeing "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at the 1925 theater. With parents who also enjoyed the theater in their younger years, "it was a throwback even then," he said.

In the past decade, though, "It's been a distressed asset that's just kind of sitting in the middle of downtown (Wheaton) for years... Something with that place eventually needs to be done, and it's coming to the point where now is the time."

After a developer's contract on the property , Siegel said, "We decided it would be best to enter into a professional real estate broker."

The previous buyer opted out of the deal after realizing the cost to complete its vision for the property would be too high, Siegel said. "They were looking to retrofit some of the property and it was going to be too expensive," he said.

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.

Brumfield said while the "preferred buyer" of the theater would be someone who would redevelop and restore the theater, "We've been working on that and haven't had a whole lot of success."

"We're welcoming all sorts of ideas," said Williams. "It's time to do something with it."

Gregg Slapak May 15, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Interested buyers of the WGT who do not want to be involved in a "dual-agency" relationship with the selling agents, please contact me. I am a Wheaton native, live and work in Historic Downtown Wheaton and have long-served the real estate needs of our wonderful community. 630.456.4840 www.TeamSlapak.com Thank you!

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