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Movie theater to open at Huntington Mall

Jun. 16, 2008 @ 10:33 PM

BARBOURSVILLE — Cinemark Holdings Inc. and the Huntington Mall announced Monday that a 12-screen movie theater will open at the mall in spring 2009.

The theater will be located at the site of the former six-screen theater, which was operated by Carmike Cinema Inc. and closed in October 2006.

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The city of Barboursville has issued demolition and building permits for the project, which is expected to begin in 10 days, according to a prepared release from the Huntington Mall.

“Certainly from an entertainment aspect, it’s the biggest announcement in the 14 years I have been here,” said Joe Johnston, property manager at the mall.

Plans include razing the old theater building along with the adjacent space once occupied by Morrison’s Cafeteria. The spaces will be combined, and an additional area will be added to accommodate the new theater, according to the release.

The theater will encompass more than 48,000 square feet and include more than 3,000 stadium-style seats and a state-of-the-art sound system.

It will have a concession stand that offers bulk and packaged candy, popcorn, hot dogs and fountain drinks and a cafe that sells Edy’s ice cream, Starbucks Coffee and pizza. Online ticketing will be available on Cinemark’s Web site.

Johnston said despite the construction, the cinema entrance to the mall will remain open with barricades.

“We’ll keep that open for people accustomed to entering the mall for Lens Crafters, Zales and Fiesta Hair Fashion,” Johnston said.

Johnston said there will be overhead steel work that will bring the new building to a higher elevation than the existing building.

Although Johnston said the Huntington Mall did not see a real drop-off in numbers after the Carmike Cinemas closed, the announcement of a new state-of-the-art cinema whisks the mall into a new beginning.

“We did not see a real drop-off in numbers, but to stop evolving in this business is the beginning of the end,” Johnston said. “This is evolving into a whole new era and it will certainly benefit our mall family of tenants. To say we missed the cinemas is an accurate statement, psychologically if nothing else.”

This will be Cinemark’s second theater complex in the Tri-State. The company owns the Cinemark Movies 10 in Ashland. The Plano, Texas-based company has 408 theaters and 4,657 screens throughout the United States and 12 other countries. It is the third-largest theater company in the United States.

The new Cinemark 12 joins a whole host of newly built stadium-style-seat theaters in the region, including Pullman Square 16 in downtown Huntington; Teays Valley Cinemas at Scott Depot; and Phoenix 10 at the KYOVA Mall in Cannonsburg, Ky.

Johnston said the complex negotiations for the cinema have been going on since before the Carmike operation closed.

He said the signing of the cinemas cements the Huntington Mall as a shopping and entertainment destination.

“Cinemas increase the length of stay for the consumer,” Johnston said. “Of course, that is beneficial to everybody. In today’s economy, you want to get more bang for your buck with a trip to the mall. If somebody doesn’t want to walk or shop, they can go see a movie and meet up later after the show for a bite to eat.”

Johnston, who was heading out Monday to a reception for the opening of the new Holiday Inn Convention Center, said the announcement of the movie theater is great news for the area.

“With our present hotel rooms on the complex and now the new Holiday Inn Convention Center, these people coming in can have a real weekend getaway,” Johnston said. “It’s probably the most well-rounded exit between Charleston and Lexington.”

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