Movie screens at the Mann Theatres in St. Louis Park soon will go dark for good after almost a quarter-century run, the property’s owner said.
The space along Excelsior Boulevard and just east of Hwy. 100 is being taken over by Park Nicollet Health Services, said Ross Hedlund, senior vice president of Frauenshuh Commercial Real Estate, on Wednesday.
The transition also affects two dining spots in the building. A Bruegger’s Bagels is closing for good, and the Chipotle fast-food outlet will move a few hundred feet north where the Granite City restaurant operated until March 2017, Hedlund said.
The six-screen Mann complex has been offering first-run movies for 24 years, and it’s scheduled to run closing credits for the final time on May 20, Hedlund said.
The family-owned Mann Theatres, founded in 1935 and headquartered in Bloomington, has eight other locations in Minnesota: two in St. Paul, plus others in Brainerd, Champlin, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Hopkins and Plymouth. Admission is routinely slightly less expensive than the larger national theater chains.
Competition for patrons intensified in recent years in St. Louis Park with the opening of a movie theater in the West End retail district on the other side of Hwy. 100. The ShowPlace ICON has 14 screens and more amenities than the nearby Mann complex.
Ellen Larson, a manager who has worked part-time in St. Louis Park at the Mann Theatres for 10 years, said many patrons are upset about the closing.
“People are just really saddened,” Larson said. “Some people have been coming here for 25 years.”
Many appreciated the theater’s no-frills approach to movie-watching, she said. There is no assigned seating, the chairs don’t recline and the concessions stand keeps it to the basic fare of popcorn, soda and nachos.
“We’re kind of like the go-between for the bigger theaters,” she said.
Larson said she had noted declining attendance over the years, although weekends and Tuesdays — when movies are $5 — were still busy.
“People still like to come out and see a movie instead of sitting in your home and watching it off TV. It’s an outing,” she said. “It gets you out of the house and to see a movie on the big screen vs. your TV, it makes it feel different.”
Larson said the last big to-do at her theater will likely be the highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity Wars,” which opens next week. “It’s gonna be our last hurrah,” she said.
Hedlund said approval for Park Nicollet’s takeover has progressed smoothly so far. A city Planning Commission meeting was to take up the transition Wednesday evening, and final City Council signoff is expected in a few weeks, he said.
Once up and running, Park Nicollet will offer urology and plastic-surgery services at the new location, Hedlund said. Park Nicollet also intends to open a dental clinic in the former Granite City building.
Operated by HealthPartners, Park Nicollet has other locations along Excelsior Boulevard including a large clinic nearby and Methodist Hospital farther west on Excelsior.
Duane Spiegle, Park Nicollet’s vice president of real estate, said the location was attractive because “it was adjacent to our large St. Louis Park Clinic campus and already [an] existing building … and it was more affordable than building new.”
Spiegle said the new services should start welcoming patients by early next year.