Multiple sources have told the News Press that a deal is nearing completion for a multi-million dollar renovation of the AMC CLASSIC Stillwater 10 that would begin in early 2019.
The renovation, which one source described as a "full remodel," would add power recliners to the theater, enhance sound systems and upgrade concessions and restrooms at the theater located at 1909 N. Perkins Rd. An AMC spokesperson said the company could not comment on any planned renovations.
The news comes days after the City of Stillwater released news it was in talks with an unnamed cinema company to bring a multi-screen theater to downtown Stillwater as part of a planned entertainment district in the vision of Stillwater's future. Prior to the city's announcement, the News Press had reached out to AMC about any potential renovations to the theater due to the fact other AMC locations nationwide that had previously been Carmike Cinemas were getting similar renovations, but were told there were no renovations to announce at the time.
The project for the proposed downtown theater would cost more than $20 million and produce about $237,000 in property tax annually, according to the city's release. The Stillwater City Council approved a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district June 18 to provide development incentives for a territory that includes downtown Stillwater and the area around the Oklahoma State University campus under the Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan.
AMC's Stillwater location falls outside of the TIF district; the northernmost edge of the district runs along Hall of Fame Avenue. The News Press was the recipient of a letter that Jay Anthony, CEO of Anthony Properties which owns the building the theater is in, sent to Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle. Anthony requested at the end of the letter it be read as public comment prior to the final City Council vote on the TIF.
Anthony said AMC's planned remodel of its location would "bring it up to the level of quality which moviegoers in Stillwater deserve," something residents have echoed for years when complaining of the theater's quality regardless of which company was managing it. The current opposition to the TIF, which would redirect a majority of the funding from increased property tax collections on properties within the TIF district that are redeveloped or increase in value to the City of Stillwater, filed a petition with the City that calls for voters to decide whether to let the Stillwater City Council’s June 18 approval of the ordinance stand.
Residents opposing the TIF have had different locations throughout town to make the petition available to sign; one of those has been the parking lot at the AMC Stillwater 10.
"We understand that the City is considering a downtown TIF that might support a new movie theater," Anthony wrote in the letter. "To maintain an even playing field, we respectfully request that AMC be granted the same incentives for its remodel.
"If that is not possible, we would ask that future theaters be excluded from the proposed downtown TIF."