The operator of Worthington’s long-awaited New Grand Theater said Friday afternoon that he’d be “very disappointed” if the new facility isn't open by the end of March.
The theater, which will be housed in a city-owned spec building at the intersection of Darling Drive and Grand Avenue, had been originally expected to open in April 2020. Multiple supply issues and other difficulties connected to the COVID-19 pandemic have repeatedly pushed that date back.
Over the noon hour Friday, a tour of the theater was given for members of the Worthington City Council and city staff and led by theater operator Todd Frager. The nearly $3.8 million building will house five screens, with three rooms offering seating for 48 people each and the other two rooms offering seating for 98 people each. The slightly curved screens are approximately 35 feet across in the three smaller rooms and nearly 50 feet across in the larger rooms, and all chairs are electric lounging recliners that Frager said aren’t available in the region outside of Minneapolis and Des Moines, Jowa.
Inside the theater building near the entrance, photos contributed by the Nobles County Historical Society show off Worthington’s movie history and include several photos of the original Grand Theater’s exterior along 10th Street. Attendees of the tour also heard a demonstration of a screening’s room sound system, watched a brief historical overview of Worthington theaters and saw coming attractions for upcoming Hollywood films; they also had an opportunity to view the upstairs projection room.
Frager said it’s expected that between 10 to 12 people will be hired approximately two weeks before opening, primarily for concessions, taking tickets and maintenance such as cleaning. He looks to conduct what he deemed a mass, three-day interviewing process sometime in February. There is already one full-time employee in place.
Frager added that the theater will be available for rentals and could potentially screen locally made movies filmed digitally. He noted that the New Grand Theater intends to apply for a license to sell beer and wine.
nearly $3.8 million building that will house five screens.