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Marianne Theater Back on Market as Initial Plan for Redevelopment Falls Through

It is on the Plan B for the Marianne Theater in Bellevue.

The historic single-screen movie theater, that has been closed since the turn of the Millennium, was set to become an entertainment destination.

But the development plans, led by Kent Hardman, failed to secure financing, city administrator Keith Spoelker said on Wednesday.

The City of Bellevue owns the Fairfield Avenue landmark, purchasing it in 2014 for $138,000. The city still owns the property and is working with the Catalytic Fund to find a new buyer and developer.

Leading up to the development of plans for the theater's future, the city hosted an open house, pursued and received placement on the National Register of Historic Places, and heard an expert opinion that the redevelopment of the site would cost around $1.6 million.

The theater also made an appearance in the Hollywood film, The Blunderer, starring Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson in 2014.

"We have shown the property a couple times already," Spoelker said. "Progress is being made on that."

Mayor Ed Riehl said that the city is actively marketing the site.

"It's a tough building and it will take a lot of funding to bring it back," Riehl said.

Outgoing council members say goodbye

In January, the Bellevue city council will be almost entirely new.

Only council members Ryan Salzman and Steve Guidugli were reelected earlier this month.

Incumbents Rodney Poynter, Carol Rich, and David Slater all lost their bids to return to council. Councilman Steve Brun ran for mayor and lost.

Mayor Ed Riehl did not run for a third term.

Charlie Cleves, of Cleves & Lonneman Jewelers fame, won the mayoral election in his first run for public office and will be joined on council by Salzman, Guidugli, and newcomers Sean Fisher, Patrick Hogan, Shauna Kruse, and Scott Witte.

"Congratulations to the people won the election, especially Charlie (Cleves)," said Brun, who previously ran for mayor in 2010 after serving on council. He was appointed to council this term to fill a vacancy. "I think we'll be in good shape. It's hard for Bellevue to lose out with the two people running for mayor and the ten people running for council. I think we've really got some good people who care about the city."

Brun noted that there were more than two thousand votes in the mayor's race. "I've been watching elections for a while. That's a lot of energy in the city and a lot of excitement about the city," he said.

Slater also offered his congratulations. "I'll be in Bellevue. I'm not moving away or anything. If you ever need anything, feel free to call anytime," Slater said. "Bellevue is going to be in good hands."

Rich noted that 2018 marked her thirtieth year of public service, which included eighteen years on the Bellevue board of education, and six years on the Gateway Community & Technical College board of directors, along with six nonconsecutive years on city council. She ran and lost in the 2014 mayoral election.

"I had fun and it was good, I'm glad I did it," Rich said. "I've enjoyed it and this is my last rodeo."

Poynter was out of town on business and not present at Wednesday's council meeting.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Marianne Theater (RCN file)