“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between,
and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth, 1970 (film adaptation)
Early in 2017, Chris, Bruce, and Jeff researched the possibilities of purchasing and restoring the theater. They began by determining the purchase price of the building, as well as the overall cost involved for a full restoration. As soon as those figures were determined, they would be able to complete a formal plan. Since the theater has always been an iconic part of Shawnee’s history, they knew that they wanted to work together with the City of Shawnee to bring this plan to fruition. So, with assistance from the Kansas Small Business Development Center, they formulated their complete business plan and operating financials.
At that point, the group determined that the only way this business would be viable was with some financial assistance from the City. After a considerable amount of negotiations, the Mayor and the Shawnee City Council agreed to a funding package that was to be used solely for the restoration part of the theater. The Aztec Group, LLC would need to use their own personal funds to purchase the actual building and cover the remaining restoration costs. A small portion of the restoration costs would also be funded through donations.
On September 25, 2017, the Shawnee City Council formally approved the funding agreement, and on October 2, 2017 Aztec Group LLC purchased the building at 11119 Johnson Drive.