Cheswick Theaters closing
The Cheswick Theaters will no longer straddle Pittsburgh Road, now that the building on the south side of the road has closed.
The theater with two screens on the south side of the road closed March 15 and will be leased as either office or retail space. The theater on the north side of the street, with a large facade and four screens inside, will remain open.
“The population in our part of the valley just can’t support as many screens as we have around here,” said owner Nick Mulone. “In the 70s, we didn’t have enough screens and now we have too many.”
Despite 18 screens at the Cinemark 18 theater at Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer, 10 screens at the Waterworks Cinemas in Pittsburgh and 10 screens at Mulone’s South Pike Cinemas in Buffalo Township, Mulone is confident the remaining four screens at the Cheswick Theaters will remain open and said he has no intentions of closing them. He did, however, say the number of screens at Cinemark 18 put a lot of pressure on the other theaters in the area.
“They probably didn’t need that many,” Mulone said. “People who design shopping centers seem to want big theater complexes, but people in this area don’t seem to want that.”
The two-screen theater in Cheswick generally showed older first-run movies a few weeks after they had been released and shown in the theaters on the north side of the street. The seating in the south theaters was not upgraded in 1999 when the four screens on the north building were converted to stadium seating. Stadium seating is the state of the art for movie theaters.
Mulone said he has not yet heard any interest in the south building’s space, which is about 7,300 square feet, but he said he saw potential for both office or retail use.
He has a fabrication shop behind the theaters on the south side where he produces screen frames for movie theaters throughout the country, including the screens at the Cinemark 18 at Pittsburgh Mills.
In 2003, Mulone closed Harmar Cinemas, in the building that now houses Alexander’s Gym on Freeport Road, because of declining ticket sales. He also sold his share of the Waterworks Cinemas that year.