Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TOP STORY >> Town could get theater

By RICKY HARVEY
Leader managing editor

Could a multi-screen movie theater be coming to Jacksonville?
The Leader has learned that a 10-screen cinema is in the works for the city, possibly being planned for the north side of Jackson Square Shopping Center on South James, next to Knight’s Super Foods.

“All I can say is there are always companies that are looking around doing cost analysis to see if the city is a good choice for various businesses,” chamber of commerce director Bonita Rownd said.

Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim said, “There have been some inquiries and there is some land under consideration.”
A representative with General Properties, Inc., in North Little Rock told The Leader last week that the company “is working with some people on something, but there isn’t any kind of deal yet.”

When asked what property was being referred to, the representative confirmed Jackson Square Shopping Center, which General Properties owns.

Based in Memphis, Malco Theatres, which has cinemas in Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Rogers, Blythe-ville and Monticello, is possibly the company that is in ongoing negotiations to build a location here.

When contacted by The Leader regarding possible plans of opening a location in Jacksonville, Karen Scott of Malco responded, “We do not comment on unannounced projects.”

If a theater for Jacksonville becomes a reality, it will be the first since The Flick I and II cinema closed its doors in the early 1990s. The two-screen theater was open in the Jacksonville Shopping Center on Main Street for many years.
It turned into a second-run movie theater in the late 1980s and closed a short time later.

“It’s my understanding that the Flick started suffering when all the movie screens started opening in the McCain Mall area,” Rownd said.