North Grand Mall aims to become contemporary destination, announces new theater


By Matthew Rezab/Iowa State Daily

The North Grand Mall in Ames.

Alex Connor

North Grand Mall announced Thursday a multi-million dollar renovation effort and “state of the art” movie theater. 

The renovation will include a “full-face lift” to the front of the mall, parking lot upgrades, new lighting and signage. The movie theater — North Grand Cinema — will include reclining seats, beer and wine options, food options and reserved seating, said North Grand Mall asset manager Ed Kaizer.

“In December, we announced that we would be making changes to the mall,” Kaizer said. “The first step in making those changes was securing a lease that would add entertainment to the shopping experience.

“Today, we are excited to announce the first step in that process: the addition of North Grand Cinema.” 

The owners of North Grand Cinema are Lee and Diane Akin. The Akins currently operate a single-screen theater in Elkader and a six-screen theater in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. 

North Grand Mall used to be host to North Grand 5, but closed in 2014. The theater was often referred to as the “dollar theater” because it showed movies after their initial release, allowing for cheaper ticket prices for viewers.

However, North Grand Cinema hopes to offer a different experience and will have “laser technology and laser projects and state of the art 7.1 sound system,” Kaizer said. 

“We’re just really excited to be here,” said Diane Akin, who is also a Iowa State alum. “This is something we have been working on for over a year.”

The renovations, Kaizer said, will begin in September. 

“The plans from the architect are being finalized and you will see contractors beginning work on-site. The renovations will be in phases and we will work around holiday shopping and the theater grand opening,” he said. 

The announcement of the renovations and theater was made at North Grand Mall Thursday afternoon and via Facebook Live. 

“I would like to take this moment and thank the community for the continued support and emphasize now — with the right local ownership group in place, we can all look forward to transforming the mall into a more contemporary destination with state of the art entertainment, expanded dining and enhanced shopping options,” Kaizer said. 

North Grand Mall will be posting pictures and updates on its website and Facebook.