A downtown Wheaton property owner has reached an agreement to purchase the Wheaton Grand Theater.
Jim Atten, owner of Atten Real Estate, today came to terms with the theater's owner, Suburban Bank & Trust of Elmhurst, said Rick Erickson, owner of Bold Steps Inc. and spokesman for Atten.
Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk, who attended the meeting with the buyer and seller Friday morning said the agreement is an "agreement of principle," that should be official within the next 15 to 30 days. The buyer and seller agreed on terms of the sale, shook hands and plan to finalize the deal with a Dec. 1 closing date, he said.
The Wheaton Grand Theater, 119-127 N. Hale St., went on the market last spring, listed by Century 21 for $599,000. Erickson declined to comment on the purchase price.
Atten has gone through a long process of getting the "stars to align," Erickson said, after the bank turned down Atten's previous offer on the theater.
"New dialogue has occurred... This is a significant milestone to getting it back up."
Erickson said Atten should take ownership Dec. 1.
After Dec. 1, he said there will be a "lot of meetings" to determine what to do with the building. Erickson has led public meetings this year to encourage discussion from downtown stakeholders and the community about the future of the theater.
"There's a lot of work to do to get the theater on its legs," he said.
Erickson said the building could reopen as a theater, but plans to develop the property in a way that attracts multiple demographics, not just theatergoers. He said Atten plans to maintain the building's historic look, while gutting the inside to create a "milestone" in the middle of Hale Street.
"There are a lot of ideas, but we have to get serious about naming one."
Gresk said he's optimistic about the deal. "I think it's good that the downtown landmark... is held in ownership by local people... This is the first step in a very long process of revitalizing that building."
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