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July 29, 2014 | 02:26 PM
The Geneva Theater, 244 Broad St., is up for sale again.

The landmark building, built in 1928, was bought in April 2013 by William and Kathy Jachimek of Phoenix, Ariz.

Their intention was to transform the movie theater into a dinner theater. Some work was done on the roof and interior.

However, on July 21, the Jachimeks put the building back on the market with a $1.1 million price tag.

The building was listed with Lake Geneva Area Realty Inc.

Attempts to reach the Jachimeks were unsuccessful.

Ken Etten, president of the nonprofit Friends of Geneva Theater, said some local people had expressed interest in the building. Now is the time to find out how deep that interest runs, he said.

“We’re certainly hoping it will give the building a new opportunity,” Etten said recently. “We’d love to see it as a performing arts venue.” Etten said Friends of Geneva Theater is not planning on disbanding. He said the group will help find a buyer or attempt to raise enough money to buy the building itself.

“We tried contacting people who had expressed interest in the past,” Etten said.

According to information from the Lake Geneva Area Realty website, the building has 20,552 square feet of interior space and sits on a 0.28-acre lot.

The property is zoned for central business. Estimated annual taxes are $13,767.

In April 2013, the Jachimek Family Limited Partnership, 3155 McDowell, Phoenix, became the new owner of the Geneva Theater.

Although the building had been listed for $895,000, according to the deed filed with the Walworth County Register of Deeds, the building was purchased for $670,000.

Change of ownership is recorded as April 1, 2013.

In an email to the Regional News in 2013, William and Kathy Jachimek said their initial plan was to turn it into retail space and turn it into an antique mall.

However, when they learned that there was a local attempt to turn the building into a performing arts center, the Jachimeks said, they resolved to keep the building as an entertainment venue.

In a telephone interview, Kathy (Cook) Jachimenk said she grew up on Cook’s Cranberry Hill Farm in the town of Lyons on Cranberry Road.

Her home was just four miles from the Playboy Club, now the Grand Geneva Resort.

Jachimek said the theater would regularly have free matinees for the kids on nonschool days, and as a youngster, she caught movies such as “Godzilla” and “King Kong.”

William and Kathy Jachimek said their goal was to turn the theater into something comparable to Fort Atkinson’s Fireside.

That apparently did not work out.

When the Geneva Theater first opened in 1928, opening night drew a crowd of more than 1,400, including a visit by the governor.

Originally designed as a vaudeville movie theater, it hosted such nationally-known performers such as Will Rogers, Bela Lugosi and the Marx Brothers.

The 1928 theater, which is on the south side of the building, and the 1975 addition are structurally sound but have been vacant since 2010.


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