Marcus Corp. threatens lawsuit over rival theater at The Corners

Company says theater would violate development agreement

Rendering of Silverspot Cinema coming to The Corners.

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

The Marcus Corporation has asked the Town of Brookfield to reject plans for a rival movie theater at The Corners mixed use development and has threatened legal action if the plans proceed.

Silverspot Cinema

In a letter dated Oct. 2, Marcus, which has a minority stake in The Corners, expressed concerns over inadequate parking, traffic, structural issues and potential failure of the theater if built.

Marcus Corp. also alleges the theater would violate the original development agreement created when The Corners was built.

“Simply put, had we thought a theatre at The Corners was a good idea, we would have either included it in the original, agreed to design or built one ourselves,” said Greg Marcus, president and chief executive officer of the Marcus Corp. in the letter. “If the town approves the addition, we will have no choice but to enforce our rights under both the development agreement and under Wisconsin Law.”

Town Administrator Tom Hagie could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Marcus Corp. first unveiled plans for The Corners in 2011, and later sold its majority stake for the project to Chicago-based Brookfield Corners LLC, the joint venture formed to build The Corners development.

In August, The Corners announced that Miami, Florida-based Silverspot Cinema will enter the Wisconsin market with a 750-seat, 43,000-square-foot theater at The Corners.

The Silverspot Cinema will focus on cultural programming but will also show first-run movies.

The Marcus Majestic Cinema opened in 2007, replacing two Brookfield theaters, Marcus West Point and the Marcus Westown Cinema.

The vacant West Point building was demolished as part of The Corners project, a $200 million development on a 19-acre site bounded by West Bluemound Road, North Barker Road and I-94.

Marcus Corp. is also planning to build a 40,000-square-foot BistroPlex theater at Brookfield Square Mall.

Marcus believes having a movie theater within one mile and another in the works three miles away does not leave enough residents to fill the theater at The Corners.

“If the project fails, bond holders, taxpayers and other tenants will be left with 43,185 square feet of empty space that is extremely difficult to repurpose,” Marcus said.

Marcus said the $30 million movie theater project is a change to the development’s final plans, which requires consent of all parties involved.

“Should you move forward and approve the final plans in violation with your contractual obligations, as recommended by the planning commission, we will be forced to pursue all remedies afforded to us by both our contract and state law,” Marcus said.

The town board will vote on the theater plans tonight.

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