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Construction underway on new theater in Dowagiac

Published 7:40am Friday, November 1, 2013

Plans for a new movie theater in downtown Dowagiac are moving along quickly.

Mike Gettig and Frank Divis are in the process of gutting the interior of the former Mr. K’s Wearhouse in downtown Dowagiac, which previously held a number of entities including a baseball museum and a clothing store. The building is being constructed to house a new one-screen movie theater, which is planned to open in spring 2014.

Developer Ken Allen of Forrest Fin, LLC, said one of the next phases of development will be the removal of the existing main floor on the twin storefront at 115 S. Front St., which will allow for tiered seating.

The theater will originally offer one screen and seat 120 people. Allen plans to install a second screen and additional seating the following year, and potentially restore the lower level of a building down the road. He told Leader Publications earlier this year that he would like to reconstruct the building as an entertainment facility, perhaps as a comedy club.

Demolition has revealed the original tin ceiling on half of the building and an original wall of odd-shaped planked wood, both of which he plans to restore.

The interior of the upper floor was gutted and will be redeveloped into three residential apartments.  Earlier this week, exterior brick was tuck pointed, which will be painted brick red.

Allen, of Sister Lakes, has worked with officials from the City and its Downtown Development Authority for more than a year on the project.

Allen is also responsible for the reconstruction of three other theaters, including the State Theatre in downtown South Bend.  The project has been in the works since 2010, and Allen decided to actively pursue the building in 2013.

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