The popcorn is being popped once again at the Beacon Cinema.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — So many movies are getting reboots these days.
The 1964 classic Mary Poppins is the latest to be brought back to life in theaters. And its now being shown at the Beacon Cinema — which has had a reboot of its own.
The six-screen cinema reopened on Friday after the new owners closed the historic building for renovations.
Detroit-based Phoenix Theatres purchased the building and the assets of the movie theater earlier this month and have since redone the flooring, painted, made repairs, improved the internet connections, heated the seats, brought in more candy, expanded hours, increased staff, and secured more movies.
The re-opening comes just short of 10 years since its original opening in the Kinnell-Kresge building on North Street. It was a complicated project to save the 1918 building that had been in severe disrepair and bring a new attraction and people to the city's main corridor.
But a number of hiccups led the Beacon Cinema to the brink of foreclosure. This August, Berkshire Bank, which represented a consortium of lenders, reached out to Phoenix Theatres about purchasing the cinema from Richard Stanley to prevent foreclosure.
Phoenix Theatres owner Cory Jacobson completed the sale and the lights, camera, and action inside the building continue.
Jacobson reflected on the building itself on Friday, noting its 100th birthday this year.
"It is a sign of permanence in this world that I think is kind of fleeting in this day and age. Driving on the road and to see the building here decade after decade, I think it makes everybody in the community feel better about themselves," Jacobson said.
"We have a great responsibility with our company to make sure that it is maintained and that this is a place for people to come to the movies for many years to come."
"There is often political drama involved in these decisions but the right decision was made in this case, we got the support we needed to make sure this theater did not go through foreclosure. We just couldn't have that happen," Mayor Linda Tyer said.
Tyer said the importance of having an independent, downtown movie theater cannot be underestimated. The attraction helps nearby businesses by bringing more people to North Street.
"A downtown independent movie thing is a very special thing for a gateway city. I spend a lot of time with gateway city mayors and when I talk about how we accomplish this renaissance of our downtown, how we came to bring new life to our downtown over this past 12 years, to support Carr Hardware and Steven Valenti, and all of the businesses that struggled during a decline, and we created this new art and culture corridor in this downtown. When I tell those mayors that we had an independent movie theater, we are the envy of many of those communities," Tyer said.
From city officials to downtown business owners to business organizations, the ribbon cutting was attended by a number of supporters of the project and the sale.
After closing on the deal earlier this year, Jacobson brought a team to the city to make repairs and renovations. He introduced his management team to a crowd of more than two dozen.
Bernard Pagarigan is coming to the city become the manager of the theater. Pagarigan said he had looked up the city when the deal was first coming into fruition and pestered Jacobson to become the manager here.
"This place has something special about it. I really want to be here. I love everything that is going on here and I've been happy since I got here," Pagarigan said.
Tyer thanked Jacobson for his interest and continued efforts to reach such a deal to keep the theater running. She promised that the city wants the company to succeed and wants to have the cinema downtown for years to come.
"You are surrounded by people who are supporting you and wanting you to succeed," she told Jacobson.
Jacobson said he wanted to not only be part of the project but wants to be part of this community and Pheonix Theaters is now.
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Pittsfield Community Development Approves Two Marijuana Cultivator Site Plans
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board approved two site plans Tuesday for marijuana cultivation establishments.
The first site plan is from J-BAM LLC that wants to open an indoor cultivation facility at 71 Downing Parkway, the former Coca-Cola warehouse.
"Basically the marijuana will be cultivated in modules, which will be manufactured off-site and brought to the facility," Sarah Gapinksi of SK Design Group, said. "It will be a hydroponic grow operation."
Gapinksi said J-BAM only looks to use 16,000 square feet of the 20,000 square-foot structure. The current owner of the building will maintain 4,000 square feet for its own use.
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At a ward meeting, Helen Moon was elated to see a young woman in her 20s take a seat in the audience.
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