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Indie Cinema given temporary reprieve for 2025 relocation

Cinema co-op says new landlord has second thoughts on forcing the theatre to relocate, gives provisional three-year timeline for moving

Sudbury Indie Cinema doesn’t have to move out of its location at 162 Mackenzie St. after all, at least not for now.

The local cinema co-op sent out an email blast to members June 12, giving them an update on the situation.

Following the building’s recent sale, Sudbury Indie Cinema had been informed by their new landlord that they’d have to vacate the space at the end of their lease in February 2025.

However in an email on Wednesday, the cinema co-op told members they had met with the current owner of 162 Mackenzie on June 7, and received some good news.

“The purpose of our meeting was to inform him of our timeline to leave (this summer!) and discuss other financial matters related to our move,” said this week’s email blast.

“During the meeting, the landlord informed us that he had reconsidered his position. He did not want the Indie to be displaced and suffer from having to make a quick move to relocate. He then offered for us to stay provisionally for another three years. 

“The three-year term came from us sharing the opinion on the ideal timeline the Indie would need to pull all the pieces together to move more seamlessly into the next great location.

“The landlord has agreed to provide us with a significant reduction on the current lease rate ending February 2025. In the meantime, the next two-year extension will be hammered out with current market lease rates as a guiding principle.

“His change of mind comes with the view that he can adjust his operations in the short-term that does not include the theatre space. The Board held an emergency meeting Sunday night and is in agreement that to stay at 162 Mackenzie is in the Co-op’s greatest interests.”

The cinema is located in the former gymnasium of Ecole St. Louis De Gonzagues, which at the time of the Indie’s 2019 opening was operated by Red Oak Real Estate of Red Oak Villa on nearby Ste. Anne Road.

Since then, the building has changed hands, first to Dalron Leasing Limited, and in the most recent sale, to a numbered company, 2810373 Ontario Inc. The numbered company is owned by James Henderson and headquartered at 727 Lorne Street. The sign outside that building reads Minewise Technology, of which Henderson is listed as the general manager. 

Renovations to the Mackenzie Street space cost $650,000, which Mairs said was partially funded by the original building owner. That investment made up $200,000 of the costs. On the Indie’s side, there was the investment in specific theatrical equipment, much of which is portable and can be reused, as well as $200,000 to turn what were the locker rooms and changing areas of the former gymnasium into the lobby, snack bar and washroom area of the Indie Cinema. 

With the new timelines, the cinema co-op “now have both the liberty and imperative to pursue our next location for fall 2027, with the ability to fundraise, bring in public investment and work with partners to secure an ideal location for Indie 2.0, while maintaining operations and growing our audiences here in Uptown — with no immediate disruption,” said the email.   

Before the agreement with the building’s new owner came to be, the Indie had been looking at two possible new locations — Knox Hall, located at 73 Larch Street, and Thorneloe University’s Ernie Checkeris Theatre, located on the Laurentian University campus property. 

“In addition to thanking our new landlord for accommodating the Indie and having our well-being in mind, it is also with the deepest appreciation we wish to acknowledge the camaraderie and support we found amongst so many potential partners and in particular Thorneloe University and Knox Hall,” said the email from the cinema co-op. “We thank them both for not just the openness to receive us but the legwork they put into potentially accommodating us as a tenant.”

The Indie also told members that staff and board members are worn out from the effort of trying to find a new home, so July programming at the cinema is paused, save special events and rentals, with full programming to return in August.


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