Marcus Corp. files lawsuit over theater proposal at The Corners

Company suing Town of Brookfield, Brookfield Corners LLC

Rendering of Silverspot Cinema coming to The Corners.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:12 pm

Milwaukee-based The Marcus Corp. filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Town of Brookfield and Brookfield Corners LLC after both groups proceeded with plans for a rival movie theater at The Corners development.

Rendering of a Silverspot Cinema in another market.

Marcus, which has a minority stake in The Corners project, threatened the lawsuit a month ago, citing concerns over inadequate parking, traffic and potential failure of a theater is built.

Marcus operates the Majestic Cinema in the Town of Brookfield and is planning a 40,000-square-foot BistroPlex cinema at Brookfield Square Mall.

The company said its partners in The Corners project, majority owners IM Properties, of the United Kingdom, and Bradford Real Estate, of Chicago, did not have written consent from Marcus to build “a costly, ill-advised and belated addition of a 43,000 square foot movie theatre to The Corners.”

In August, The Corners announced that Miami, Florida-based Silverspot Cinema will enter the Wisconsin market with a 750-seat theater at The Corners. The Silverspot Cinema will focus on cultural programming but will also show first-run movies.

“Had we thought a theatre at The Corners was a good idea, we would have either included one in the original, agreed-to design or built one ourselves,” said Gregory Marcus, president and chief executive officer of The Marcus Corp. “Our expertise as the fourth largest theatre circuit in the country and our understanding of the local market affords us the knowledge and insight to know this addition is a terrible idea for practical, economic and legal reasons. We have not, and cannot, lend our support to these changes.”

Town of Brookfield Administrator Tom Hagie said he knew Marcus filed and appeal with the town’s Board of Zoning but he was not aware a lawsuit was filed.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Robert Gould, CEO of Brookfield Corners, LLC, said the group did its due diligence before proceeding with theater plans.

“We are confident in our position and right to proceed as we did,” Gould said. “Competition in this matter will be good for the consumer and for the community. As for any legal claim by Marcus, we believe it is without merit.”

Marcus Corp. contends the addition of the theater would unilaterally changed the approved design and intent of The Corners project and create possible structural and space issues related to the parking structure.

The company also noted that some of the busiest weeks of the movie year coincide with prime holiday shopping times, which will create parking issues.

If the movie theater fails, it will be hard to re-purpose the 43,000-square-foot space and could be devastating to the project, which was financed, in part, by a more than $30 million TIF district, Marcus said.

“We regret having to take this action, yet are left with no choice,” Marcus said. “We’re disappointed to be in this spot, but are determined to pursue this matter.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display