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Iowa City's FilmScene receives state grant for new Chauncey building cinema

FilmScene received a $320,760 grant to aid in purchasing a new facility within the Chauncey mixed-use development on Gilbert Street. (The Gazette)
FilmScene received a $320,760 grant to aid in purchasing a new facility within the Chauncey mixed-use development on Gilbert Street. (The Gazette)

A not-for-profit Iowa City movie theater has received a financial boost from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The agency’s Community Attraction and Tourism committee awarded FilmScene a $320,760 grant Wednesday to help in purchasing a new cinema facility within the $57 million Chauncey mixed-use development on Gilbert Street, expected to open in late September. FilmScene, which opened on the Pedestrian Mall in 2013, plans to occupy the first two stories of the 15-story high-rise. Features of the new location will include more than 200 seats across two main theaters and one education-based theater, 35 mm and 16 mm film projectors, offices with a kitchenette and a conference room.

The theater submitted $1,549,371 in eligible project expenses to the state for the grant, according to committee documents.

FilmScene was an early partner in the Chauncey, which from 2013-16 underwent a legal battle that reached the Iowa Supreme Court over rezoning for its height.

Beyond the theater, the development will include a bowling alley, hotel, food offerings, commercial and office space and condos, plus the remodeling of Chauncey Swan Park.

The Community Attraction and Tourism committee falls under Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Enhance Iowa board, which awarded $1,128,888 in additional grant funds Wednesday to projects in Cascade, Council Bluffs and West Des Moines.

The Enhance Iowa Program incentivizes communities to build “quality of life” projects across the state, such as recreational, cultural, educational and educational facilities. Since its inception, the board has awarded 55 CAT grants totaling $17,418,301.

• Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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