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Bloomington's Carmike Palace Cinema 10 Looking to Upgrade

The cinema wants to have full service dining with alcohol sales.
BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington's Carmike Theater wants to be the first in the state to be a destination for dinner and a movie.

"I think it's a really exciting model. They're going to be investing $3-$6 million in our community, with a new business model. I think it's good for the community and good for economic development,” said Tari Renner, Bloomington’s mayor.

The move is designed to bring families closer together, but some council members think it could tear the city apart.

"It's just really sad that we can't have a venue like we always have with the movies, which doesn't involve alcohol,” said Judy Stearns, Bloomington city council member.

"It’s kind of closing off one more venue where they're not going to be exposed to this,” added Ald. Kevin Lower.

"The free market will help because you're not going to have every movie theater in the community sign up to have liquor and that creates a market for the venues,” said Ald. Scott Black.

After months of renovations, Carmike officials say they'd strictly enforce the law to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.

“If they'd like an adult beverage, it's basically one individual, one ID, one beverage,” said Harlan Powell, attorney for Carmike.

The theater would lose half of its seating area, and ticket prices would likely go up. Plus, the theater would close four months for renovations.

But more staff would be needed to run the dining area, and it could pump more money back into the city.

Rob Fazini, city council member: "That's a major revenue loss and they're all in on this. They're saying we picked you as the first place in the state of Illinois and we think it's a good business plan, and you're the place to do it.

Renner says Wehrenberg Theaters had asked in the past about getting a liquor license, but that was declined. He says the city was more willing to accept this one because it's a different business model.


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