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    Theater Redesign Will Bring Immediate Benefit



    Theater-goers in Indian Hills can park at a central location and enjoy not just their local Edwards Theater, but also six restaurants and several retail stores that are entered separately, but in the same building. When the San Bernardino Economic Development Association leases its downtown movie theater to Edwards’ owner Regal Entertainment Group, theater-goers there will enjoy a similar experience, as four of the current theaters will be converted to restaurants. Photo by Chris Sloan

    Leasing the downtown San Bernardino theater to Regal Entertainment Group could, in time, jump-start development in the area, perhaps including remodeling or rebuilding Carousel Mall to become an open-air retail center similar to Corona Crossroads, which is anchored by an Edwards Theater. Photo by Chris Sloan

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) A family arrives at an Inland Empire Edwards Cinema one or two hours before the movie they wish to see begins, knowing the adjacent restaurants will give them a variety of choices for dinner.

    Shall we have chicken? Or Mexican? Or perhaps Italian or Chinese? Maybe we also want yogurt or coffee after the movie? Should we go shopping after that?

    Those are the real-life choices that family would have at one particular Edwards Cinema, located in Indian Hills near Riverside. At this location, six restaurants, a high-end grocery store, two smaller retail stores and the theater form a semicircle around the front of the parking lot, beckoning guests to a quality dinner and movie experience.

    That experience, and much more, could happen in San Bernardino when the City’s Economic Development Agency leases the former cinema at 450 E Street to Regal Entertainment Group, operator of Edwards Cinemas Regal Cinemas and United Artist theaters. In time, that theater could be an anchor to a new retail center where Carousel Mall now stands.

    Regal Entertainment Group’s plan is to lease only 14 of the 20 screens the former theater operated. Four of the other six would become restaurants, the other two offices, storage and dressing rooms for the California Theater.

    “Twenty screens in one theater is too many in the current market, so Regal Entertainment Group wants to give the front six theaters back to us,” said Interim Agency Director Emil Marzullo. “That creates an additional $1 million in value to us.”

    That value comes primarily from leasing four of the theaters to restaurants. Like the restaurants at the similarly designed Edwards Cinema near Riverside, these restaurants would share a building and parking with the theater, but would each have their own entrance.

    “When we publicly announced our intention to enter into a lease with Regal Entertainment Group, representatives of several major retail outlets asked us about the possibility of doing business in San Bernardino,” Marzullo said. “That includes some restaurants that would be great fits with the downtown theater.”

    Four restaurants next to the theater is just a start. The Economic Development Agency staff hopes a theater the caliber of Regal’s Edwards Cinemas will jump-start development in the downtown area.

    For instance, it could spark a private developer to remodel Carousel Mall into an open-air mall that would extend to the premises of the theater. This would be similar to Riverside Plaza, Ontario Mills and many other retail centers that have Edwards Cinemas as one of their main draws.

    “The public must realize that any redevelopment of the Carousel Mall will not occur quickly,” Marzullo. “It is crucial for the Economic Development Agency to help start other projects in the downtown area in the meantime. This will remove empty, blighted buildings and make the downtown area a more desirable place for the Inland Empire region’s residents to visit and for nationally recognized companies seeking to do business here.”

    The Economic Development Agency is negotiating a 34-year lease with Regal Entertainment Group. The lease starts with a 10-year term. After that, if it’s mutually beneficial, the lease could be renewed in five-year increments for up to 34 years.

    And, by then, with the Economic Development Agency’s help, downtown San Bernardino will look much different and better than it does today.

    The Economic Development Agency will present an update on its lease negotiations with Regal at the city council meeting, 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10. Regal Entertainment Group is the largest cinema operator in the world with 546 multi-screen theaters, containing almost 7,000 screens.

    Everyone is invited to attend this presentation. Residents of San Bernardino who have Time Warner Cable can also view the presentation live on Channel 3. It will also be shown over the Internet at www.iemediagroup.tv.

    For more information call Deputy Agency Director Don Gee at (909) 663-1044.

    About the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency

    The City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency is a focused, diversified organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of San Bernardino by creating jobs, eliminating physical and social blight, supporting culture and the arts, developing a balanced mix of quality housing, along with attracting and assisting businesses both independently and through public-private partnerships.


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