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AMC Theatres has signed a lease to reopen the Century movie theater in the Church Street plaza, its developer says. (RoundTable file photo)

Officials with AMC Theatres have confirmed the movie theater chain has reached a lease agreement with Chicago-based GW Properties to acquire and reopen the 12 screens formerly operated by Century Theatres at 1715 Maple Ave, possibly as early as this spring.

The company plans to reopen as AMC Evanston 12, officials said.

“We’re excited about it,” Ryan Noonan, AMC spokesman, said on Feb. 17. “We know obviously Chicago is a really good market.”

The RoundTable reported last week that GW Properties had reached a lease agreement with AMC.

AMC’s closest theaters to Evanston are the AMC Village Crossing 18 in Skokie and the AMC Dine-In Northbrook 14 in Northbrook.

“We are excited to welcome AMC Theatres into this important project in the heart of Evanston and bring patrons back to the theaters who have eagerly been awaiting its return to the community,” Mitch Goltz, the principal and co-founder of GW Properties, said in a statement.

The Evanston movie theaters closed nearly two years ago, shortly after the pandemic began, after a nearly 20-year run in the downtown space.

The movie site is just one of the properties GW Properties has leased or is in the process of leasing since it bought the 200,000 square-foot Church Street Plaza last November.

Goltz said his firm has also reached agreement with the company Sky Zone to operate one of its flagship trampoline and active entertainment parks in what used to be the south side of the theater, where Century had another six screens intended for showing independent or art-themed movies.

Chicago metropolitan area a draw

Adam Aron, chairman and CEO of AMC, pointed to the strength of the Chicago metropolitan area in a Feb. 15 release announcing the company’s plans to reopen the theaters.

AMC Evanston 12 is the latest major market addition to the AMC circuit, the company said, joining six other theaters in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C., all of which have already opened or are expected to reopen in 2022.

“This constitutes our third announcement of a major market acquisition in the last two months, including the second acquisition announcement for a theater in the Chicago metropolitan area, which remains a strong moviegoing market for AMC,” Aron said.

“We look forward to bringing the AMC experience to even more guests in and around Chicagoland at this previously high-traffic, well-known location. We continue to seek out these strategic acquisition opportunities to strengthen our company,” Aron said.

AMC remains in discussions with other property owners regarding additional currently closed locations, the release said.

AMC Evanston 12 will offer many of AMC’s most popular amenities, the release said, including AMC Stubs, described as a “loyalty and subscription service that includes AMC Stubs A-List,” as well as a MacGuffins bar.

Goltz said earlier the company hopes to open the AMC movie theaters this spring. 

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

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  1. As happy as I am for Evanston to reopen its movie theater, the reason it was my favorite was because it had a great mix of the popular movies that were out and some under the radar, independent, low budget movies. AMC occupying this space is only gonna take away the chances that the smaller budget movies got before the pandemic. It’s a real shame.

  2. Will the Evanston continue to offer the excellent foreign films it use to or is it just going to be a duplicate of their other theatres who all have the same films

  3. Will AMC Evanston theaters carry the Metropolitan Opera HD series and when will tickets be available for purchase? We

  4. I’m so thrilled that AMC is going to open up the former Century 11 theaters. The former Century theater is only 2 1/2 blocks from where I live. It’s going to be so great to be able to go to see movies there again. Thanks AMC for taking them over! I can’t wait to go to see movies there again!!!!!