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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Downtown Pittsburgh hasn’t had a first-run movie theater since the 1980s, but the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust wants to change that.

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There’s a plan to transform the vacant Bally’s Sports Club on Sixth Street into a multi-screen theater. Ironically, the building was a theater years ago.

“A first-run, multiplex, cineplex, not 25 screens, but six, seven, eight screens maybe in this building,” said Trust director Kevin McMahon. “There’s room enough for that in this building.”

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The Trust has owned the building for about eight years. And, recently, another $1 million grant from the state came in. That, in addition to millions from private donors.

While the $8½ million has been raised so far, it is still short of the $11 million needed. Demolition inside the building is expected to begin in about a month.

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“There’s a swimming pool in there, an indoor track, there’s a half-court basketball court in this building,” said McMahon. “We have some work we have to get done before we can even start the build out.”

But he says the project is a definite go and expects a theater could open in 2020.

McMahon says attendance keeps growing at the Trust’s Harris Theater Downtown, which shows international films.

He says while more people live Downtown now, restaurants and other attractions have also made Downtown more of destination.

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“We just have a lot more people coming Downtown for their entertainment, so this is another way that the Cultural Trust is making sure there’s something in the Cultural Trust for everyone.”

David Highfield