Kennewick’s Regal 8 Cinemas to close at mall

While the Tri-Cities will add 10 more movie screens later this year when Kennewick Fairchild Cinemas opens, it will lose eight screens at the Columbia Center mall.

The Regal 8 Cinemas will shut down later this summer to make room for a larger retail space, said Barbara Johnson, general manager for Kennewick’s Columbia Center.

“We can confirm Regal Cinemas will be closing at Columbia Center,” said Johnson in a statement. “We do have plans to redevelop the space for an exciting new retail offering, and look forward to providing more details when the time is right.”

Johnson said the mall has not yet been notified of an official close date, though theater staff say it’s July 22.

The theater opened in 1998 at the mall as Act III Theater Cinemas. It was an upgrade to the Columbia Center 3, which sat in a building east of the mall.

The new theater was where the old Pay N Save was located on the south side of the mall.

The project calls for the theater to be torn down, then expanded from the original 34,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet, next door to the Barnes & Noble Booksellers store.

Nothing official has been announced for the space yet.

The project has been in the works for months.

The city of Kennewick had a feasibility review meeting on Jan. 31.

According to JUB Engineers, the new project will take away about 70 parking spots.

The Regal Entertainment Group, with headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the second largest theater chain in the United States.

In June 2016, Regal had 564 theaters country-wide, with 7,307 screens.

According to Variety Magazine, British theater company Cineworld acquired Regal Entertainment Group for $3.6 billion in December 2017.

The country’s largest theater chain, AMC Theaters, was purchased by the Wanda Group of China for $2.6 billion in 2012.

Regal had declining revenues of 12 percent, and declining attendance of 14 percent, during the third quarter of 2017.

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