When he tells me he’s going to turn it into a recycling center and rename it “Center Garbage,” because “it matches the city,” I think he’s half joking. He does think the City Council is garbage.
But when he tells me he’s going to demolish the stage, the screen and the seats inside the venerable 64-year-old single screen movie theater, I think he’s dead serious.
Because he has already paid an architect to draw up demolition plans; because he’s already submitted an application to demolish the inside of the theater; and because there’s nothing the city can do to stop him.
The theater owner, David Siddiq, is still angry over the City Council in July denying him a permit to expand uses for the theater to include concerts banquets, dinner shows, etc. Without that permit, he doesn’t think he can make any money with the theater, so he’s decided to rip out everything and turn it into a commercial office space.
Of course the commercial rental market isn’t exactly thriving in Centerville. Trust me, if rents were climbing, the Argus would have moved somewhere else. Like Sri Lanka.
Siddiq thinks the city wouldn’t let him expand the uses for the theater because it wants to diminish its value and then buy it from him and turn it into a community arts center. But the city doesn’t have the money for that anymore. And if Siddiq removes the screen, the seats and the stage, it would all but kill the community arts center plan.