The writer-producer-director-exhibitor who owns the largest independent library of science-fiction film rights, distributes his product worldwide and also lives in Kansas City, is the checkbook behind the Fine Arts Theatre Group. The group that operates the Rio, Glenwood and Leawood movie theaters.
So when new owners of the Metcalf South Shopping Center announced in March that the 1960s era mall would likely be razed, Williams was bummed.
That’s because his group operates a mini movie plex there called The Glenwood Arts. The three holer – formerly the Metcalf Theatre – is the titular successor to Dickinson’s Theatres once proud Glenwood Theatre at 91st and Metcalf.
Williams’ take on tearing down Metcalf South?
“I hope Metcalf South’s there forever,” he says. “It’s not a big enough spot to do a huge, new mall on.”
“It worked very well at Ranch Mart,” Williams says. “They did a beautiful job.”
A beautiful job that includes Williams’ Leawood Theatre in the basement, which is now showing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jersey Boys, Sex Tape, Snowpiercer, Third Person and Words and Pictures. For people who prefer an “old school” movie theater experience.
“I wish they would do what they did to Ranch Mart and put a facade on the front and get some new tenants and some pad sights,” Williams says. “Look what Jack’s Stack does across the street. They’re wasting their time looking into building a new mall. They say the plumbing needs to be repaired. So what? It’s a lot easier to fix the plumbing than to tear everything down.”
And even if longtime anchor tenant Sears should go the way of the dinosaur, “There’s a lot of other big box stores that could come in there,” Williams says. “Like Target did at Ward Parkway. But maybe they don’t need a big box store.”
Developers say they’re taking suggestions, studying possible solutions and hope to announce a game plan for Metcalf South sometime this year.