NorthStar Cinema

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

NorthStar Cinema’s land is for sale, but the business is not. Co-owner Jason Lillmars said the property listed to see what the current value of the land is worth, but he is not expecting anyone to buy it.

WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP – White Lake residents might be surprised or even confused to hear that NorthStar Cinemas’ building and land are for sale.

There are two social media posts currently circulating on Facebook that would seem to contradict one another on first read. The first of which was posted on Wednesday, Sept. 19, which is a link to a real estate listing on the Coldwell Banker Realty website.

The cost for the property is $600,000 and is described as, “[A] 6,000 square foot commercial building [that] sits on 2.64 acres. It is located just west of US-31 and south of Colby Road in Whitehall Township.

“The property is close to retailers like Walmart, McDonald’s and Wesco. Currently a Movie Theater with 22-foot ceilings, front entrance and lobby area, two restrooms and three large movie screen rooms, this property also has great potential for churches, retail space and office space.”

However, what might be confusing to some is a message that was posted to the NorthStar Cinemas’ Facebook page.

“Dear theater patrons,

“It has recently been brought to our attention that there is a FB post circulating online regarding our Whitehall theater location. Please note that our theater, similar to all other theaters in the State of Michigan, is currently not open for business due to COVID restrictions. However, we fully intend on reopening once it has been deemed safe to do so.

Thanks, and see you at the movies!

Northstar Cinemas”

According to realtor David Dusenberry, the real estate posting is indeed real. However, NorthStar Cinema doesn’t plan to go out of business anytime soon.

According to Jason Lillmars, the business and the equipment aren’t for sale. And the listing is more of a test to see what the current market value is for the property.

Lillmars is one of the co-owners of the movie theater. He has been with NorthStar Cinemas since its opening in 1996, first as an employee, and in 2001 becoming a business partner.

He said that, right now, real estate prices are high, as well as construction costs, and said the land and building were listed at a premium.

The current asking rate is $100 per square-foot, and Lillmars would be surprised if anyone would be willing to buy the property at the current asking price. He said that he and his partners wouldn’t accept anything less than what the NorthStar property is currently listed as.

Should someone actually decide to buy the property NorthStar would continue to service the area either through a leasehold or at a new location.

However, should the movie theater need to change locations it wouldn’t be too far from the White Lake Area. Lillmars said the company would wish to continue serving communities located in the northern part of Muskegon County.

NorthStar Cinema’s doesn’t wish to compete with Celebration Cinema in the city of Muskegon. Celebration owns both Cinema Carousel and the Getty Drive-In movie theaters.

COVID-19 hasn’t been particularly great for movie theater chains. Recently in Fremont, the Fremont Cinemas were forced to close their doors and enter bankruptcy.

Lillmars said that NorthStar isn’t facing a similar situation, and that through the combined income of their Whitehall and Rockford location, they will be able to re-open once they are allowed to.