The Glenwood Arts Theatre, one of the last holdouts at the closing Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park, is moving out as of Jan. 25.
Its parent company, the Fine Arts Theatre Group, on Wednesday called the move more of a merger with a sister theater, the Leawood in the Ranch Mart South shopping center at 95th Street and Mission Road. That five-screen theater will be renamed the Glenwood Arts. (That may be more fitting for the spot, which is actually in Overland Park.)
Along with its name, the Glenwood Arts will bring the annual Kansas International Film Festival, more art-house films — the Leawood has presented more commercial offerings — and its retro 45-foot-tall sign, which once stood at the old Glenwood Theatre on Metcalf Avenue.
“We knew it was coming,” said Brian Mossman, who runs the theater group with his brother Ben. “That theater is so well respected and so well attended.”
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The Glenwood Arts opened at Metcalf South in 2002, but since 2009 its lease has been month to month as the future of the mall was uncertain.
Now the only remaining business there is Sears, which owns its building at the south end of the mall. Earlier this month, the developer, Lane4 Property Group, told the Overland Park City Council that it was planning a mix of retail, dining, office space and multifamily living for the shopping center and the closed strip mall across 95th Street to the north.
“With new construction, it would be out of our league, the rent they quoted us,” Mossman said.
The Glenwood’s announcement comes three months after the Fine Arts group closed the Glenwood at Red Bridge theater in south Kansas City, where the lease was not renewed. The group also runs the Rio in downtown Overland Park.
With the loss of two theaters, Mossman said he and his partners, including Wade Williams, are looking into reopening two other Fine Arts theaters that have been closed for years. The Aztec, a single-screen theater at Johnson Drive and Nieman Road in Shawnee, would be renamed the Fine Arts Theatre and would seat 250 to 300 patrons, he said. Williams’ Englewood Theatre, on Winner Road in Independence, would expand to add two smaller screens.
“With the Glenwood Arts moving, we can take some of our energy and time and re-evaluate those theaters,” Mossman said. “It’s kind of a sad day. All of that work. But we’ll start again.”
The old Glenwood’s final film, screening at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25, will be “Metcalf South Memories,” W. David Keith’s loving mockumentary shot at the empty mall. The $5 tickets will go on sale Friday.