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first on Viking Theatres is planning a remodeling which will result in seven movie screens

Posted: Sun, Mar 8, 2020 3:41 PM
(Photos courtesy of Fridley Theatres)

You could have a lot more options to choose from when you go to the Viking Theatre in Decorah in the future.

Fridley Theatres, which owns the Decorah movie theater, hopes to submit a plan for City of Decorah approval later this spring which would dramatically change the movie-going experience in Decorah.

Fridley spokesperson Russell Van Nordsel says the reconfigured movie theater would have seven screens showing different movies at different starting times (although some blockbuster movies might be shown in two or three theaters).

Fridley had originally wanted to remodel the building in 2016, but problems with rainwater runoff stalled the plans.  This year's remodeling--if approved--would also help control the rainwater.

Van Norsdel says the remodeling would be done in several stages.  The first stage would involve tearing down the movie theater on the south side of the building, to the left when patrons enter the theater.  Replacing the one theater would be an array of three theaters, smaller in size, but with luxury leather recliners.  "The industry is completely changing," Van Norsdel tells, which means theater patrons are used to the new amenities.

The second phase of the remodeling would consist of turning the remaining two screens into four areas with screens.  As a result, the total capacity of the theater would be reduced from around 1,000 seats to around 600 recliner seats.  But Van Norsdel says that's the level of comfort audiences expect today.  "The community of Decorah deserves a better movie theater," he says.

The plans for the footprint of the theater will be submitted to Decorah's Planning and Zoning Commission in two or three months, if all goes well.  While the remodeling will substantially change the theater, it will remain open during the construction.

The new theaters will have upgraded seating
The food service also will be upgraded