David Kraft, longtime owner of the Art Theater in Downtown Champaign, and his company have started to sell the beloved theater's parts on their Facebook page. You can see their post here.
The Art closed abruptly late last year, and was up for sale for $2 million recently, but it appears that no one is interested/able to purchase the theater right now. Kraft bought the building in 2001 for roughly $195,000. During the pandemic, it shouldn't come as a surprise that no one purchased it, especially at such an exorbitant price.
In the Facebook post, Kraft Properties states:
For Sale: Movie seats from the Art Theater. Available in rows of 3-8 seats. 3 for $150, 4 for $180, or 5-8 for $200. No delivery and cash only.
They're selling popcorn machines, projectors, and more in addition to the seats. You can read more about Kraft's plan over at The News-Gazette's report, which features this quote:
“After 100+ years of operation and 10 months of closure, it has become increasingly evident that the future of the property will not be a movie theater,” Kraft said in an email.
This is just... a lot to unpack, and really, an unfortunate and bleak state of affairs. Selling the theater for parts (cash only, mind you) is just painful to see. Kraft has owned the building for just a slice of that 100+ year history, and it appears he will abandon the theater concept he was "committed to" in 2003. After Savoy 16's uncertain future, the amount of places to see movies in C-U just got even smaller.
While it is understandable Kraft would move to shift the space to something else, it still stings to see this sort of thing happen, rather than seeing the theater be preserved in some capacity.
Top image: Art Theater by Patrick Singer (left); Chairs by Kraft Properties (right).