Downtown Fayetteville theater project Lumiere halted, building up for sale

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 2,448 views 

An architectural rendering of the movie theater and event venue in downtown Fayetteville called Lumiere.

The developers who announced plans in 2016 for an independent movie theater and event venue in downtown Fayetteville have canceled the project and put the building up for sale.

Greg Billingsley, Ross Cully and Brian Hill, all of Fayetteville, issued a statement Friday (April 13) with details of their intention to halt development of the Lumiere, a 15,000-square-foot facility at 227 W. Dickson St. It was designed by award-winning Fayetteville architect Marlon Blackwell, and was to be anchored by twin theater screens on the first floor, called August and Louie. They were named as an homage to the Lumiere brothers, who helped pioneer the cinema industry.

“After working for almost 4 years, we are sad to announce that we are not moving forward with August & Louie, the planned development of an independent movie theater & event space at the current Dickson Street Theater location,” the statement noted. “The overwhelming support and excitement we received from the Northwest Arkansas community during this project has been humbling and we are truly sorry that we could not accomplish this for our community.

“We overcame many obstacles with the help of our team and the City of Fayetteville, but after multiple redesign attempts we were ultimately unable to achieve a workable construction budget for the project.”

In November, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal reported developers were still waiting to break ground. Billingsley said when the initial bids for the project came back in February 2017 they were higher than the initial project estimates.

“We reworked some of the building over the spring and summer and are bidding it out again,” Billingsley said at the time. “We should have bids back soon and know more in the next few weeks about our updated timeline.”

The building at the site now previously housed popular Fayetteville nightclub Dickson Street Theater. Cully, CEO of Rogers-based sales and marketing company The Harvest Group, and Billingsley, a technology consultant, purchased the building from Jimmy and Molly Rapert for $630,000 in September 2014.

In their statement, the developers said they were encouraged by the growth of the Fayetteville arts community since they purchased the building, noting the Walton Arts Center redesign and the Theater Squared development.

“It was our desire and vision to join those organizations in bringing the arts to a broader audience by curating and promoting independent film,” the statement read. “Our hope is that someone in the future will build and even surpass our vision for an independent theater in Fayetteville.”

The Dickson Street Theater building is now being marketed by Matt Mozzoni with commercial real estate firm Sage Partners.

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