By LORI STAHL [The Dallas Morning News, December 2010]
When Highland Park Village was sold to a new owner last year, nearby residents often voiced the same concern.
“Since I bought the Village, the first question I’ve had is, ‘We’re not going to lose the Village Theatre, are we?’ ” developer Ray Washburne said Friday.
The answer is no. Today, the theater will reopen after being closed for more than a year for renovations to restore it to its original grandeur. The shopping village has been designated a national historic landmark.
The renovated movie house will feature two large theaters and two screening rooms for private parties. A restaurant, Marquee, is expected to open by March and will be headed by chef Tre Wilcox.
It will also have luxury seating and an all-digital projection system. When the food service is fully operational, probably in a few months, theatergoers will be able to order food delivered to their seats.
Last year, Washburne’s group bought Highland Park Village for $170 million from the extended family of Henry S. Miller and a New Orleans investment group. The Miller group had owned the plaza since 1976, when they paid $5 million for it.
Although Landmark Theatres had been mentioned previously as a possible operator of the Village Theatre, the company is not involved in the project.
“It’s not going to be an art house,” Washburne said. “It’ll be family-friendly stuff.”
He said the space could probably have generated more money if it was something other than a theater, but he wanted to maintain the “special chemistry” that people have come to expect at the 80-year-old shopping plaza.
“The village is the town square.”