Movie theatre coming downtown

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Movie theatre coming downtown

Posted: 09/14/2004
Mayor Bill Haslam and Regal Theatre Group CEO Mike Campbell announced today that they've agreed in principle for Regal Entertainment Group to operate an eight-screen multiplex style movie theater in downtown Knoxville.

The state-of-the-art cinema is expected to be located in the 500 block of Gay Street.

Construction is expected to begin this spring and be completed in spring 2006.

"This public-private partnership will further stimulate economic development and leverage additional private investments in downtown Knoxville," said Mayor Haslam. "Regal Entertainment Group is the premier movie theater operator in the world and I'm pleased to have this outstanding hometown company as an integral partner in this project."

Campbell said, "Downtown Knoxville is certainly gaining momentum as the number of residents and visitors to the district is growing exponentially. Regal Entertainment Group sees the downtown movie theater as a good business decision for the company and an asset for the city's revitalization strategy."

The theater will offer stadium seating and exhibit first run and other commercially popular films from major distributors.

The movie theater concept was initiated and Regal was selected by Kinsey-Probasco, the development team under contract with the city of Knoxville to redevelop Market Square.

"The movie theater is the cornerstone of the redevelopment plan that emerged from many community meetings," said Jon Kinsey, principle in Kinsey Probasco & Associates. "The concept of using an anchor tenant to draw other tenants has a proven track record of success."

Financing details have not been finalized, but it's anticipated that the city's Industrial Development Board, Regal Entertainment Group and third-party investors will contribute to the project.

Mayor Haslam noted the city expects to realize over $2.5 million in savings in costs associated with the Market Square parking garage, now under construction. As planned in the current capital budget, those funds will now be available for economic development projects within downtown.

The theater will also be served by free parking in the city-owned State Street garage.

"Although some details remain to be hammered out, we have strong commitments from those involved that this project is financially feasible and worthwhile," Mayor Haslam said.

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has agreed to present County Commission an agreement that swaps the Gay Street property for city-owned property on Church Avenue (the old News Sentinel site).

"Mayor Ragsdale is an ardent supporter of downtown Knoxville, knowing as I do that downtown represents one of Knox County's best opportunities for job growth and economic development," Mayor Haslam said. "I appreciate his and the Commission's support throughout this process."

"The next steps include completing the property transfer with Knox County and ensuring the project's costs are aligned with its budget," he said.

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) is the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world. The Company's theatre circuit, comprising Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theatres, operates 6,053 screens in 544 locations in 39 states. Regal operates approximately 17% of all screens in the United States including theatres in 46 of the top 50 U.S. markets and growing suburban areas.