GROVE CITY – The Guthrie Theater’s new owner is making progress with the property and has more ideas in mind.
Pat Artise, who bought the theater from Veritas Arts Inc. in 2020, shared some details at Monday night’s Grove City City Council meeting.
He has begun transferring a liquor license from another municipality. The council would have to vote to approve the transfer.
It was complicated because there was only one license for sale in Mercer County, Artise said.
The license was last held by the former Golden Apple restaurant in Wheatland. Artise also purchased the building located at Broadway and Mercer Avenues.
The theater at 232 S. Broad St. has only one screen, and most single-screen theaters have fallen by the wayside, he said.
To keep bringing people in, the theater needs an upgrade, which includes an alcohol license, he said.
Artise and his crew have been busy with renovations for the past few months, and the Guthrie has hosted a number of private parties.
He has his eye on a cinema trend in big cities: to offer different food concepts in a “food hall” style.
In addition to films, he hopes to host live theater, musical performances, and comedy shows.
Inside the theater itself, Artise has worked to create spaces dedicated to dining and dancing. Several rows of seats have been removed.
The reclining seats on the balcony have been removed and replaced with tables, chairs and counter seats.
Accessibility is updated.
Artise is an Army veteran and Gannon University graduate who opened a neighborhood bar in Erie in the early 1990s.
Since then he has been involved with more than two dozen restaurants, bars and related businesses in the Erie area.
Semi-retired and living in Florida, he returned to Pennsylvania to be closer to his family.
Council members agreed to schedule a public hearing for the alcohol license.
Known as ‘The Queen of Broad Street’, The Guthrie opened in 1927 for silent films and live entertainment on its small stage. The nonprofit Veritas Arts purchased the historic theater in late 2018 from local owner Eric Thomas, who has owned and run it with his family since 2002. At that time it had about 500 seats.
Also at Monday’s meeting, councillors:
• Approval of an easement agreement with the Municipality of Springfield for the portion of the multimodal path that will include the Grove City Airport property.
• I heard from Borough Manager Vance Oakes about the damage to a beam on the Harvard Street flyover.
A truck got stuck trying to drive under it; The accident had nothing to do with the railroad, he said.
While the district awaits repairs, barricades are in place to prevent traffic from passing under the overpass.
Mayor Randy Riddle said he noticed the barricades had been pushed aside and he put them back up.
• I heard from Oakes that the youth of George Junior Republic helped plant trees in the county.
• Congratulated Alex Oakes on being named a Distinguished Junior Council Person by Riddle. Oakes is a senior at Grove City High School.
• I heard from Riddle and Tim Bonner about a hearing the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board will be attending on May 23 in Harrisburg.
Bonner is the district attorney and he also serves in the State House, representing the 8th Circuit.
Bonner has introduced legislation that would ban landfill construction within 3 miles of the boundary of a city with a population density of 3,000 people per square mile — like Grove City, he said.
Tri-County Industries Inc. plans to build a landfill site on land it owns in Liberty and Pine townships.
The purpose of the hearing is for the board to collect further information.
• Agreed to consider developing a policy that would ban smoking in community playgrounds.