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Christopher Zajac Record-Journal
The Southington movie theater is pictured. Cinemark recently acquired Rave Theatres for $240 millon. | File photo

New owners mum about plans for theater

SOUTHINGTON — The future of the Southington 12 movie theater complex remains uncertain despite its sale in May to Cinemark Theaters.

Southington 12 was one of five Rave Cinemas locations in the state purchased in a $240 million cash deal that added 32 theaters to Cinemark’s portfolio. But the agreement assumed some liabilities and included a condition to divest three theaters, according to a May 29 statement from Cinemark.

Despite reports to the contrary, the Southington 12 theater business was included in the purchase with Enfield 12, Buckland Hills 18 in Manchester, Connecticut Post 14 in Milford and North Haven 12, in North Haven.

Berlin 12, another Rave Cinemas property, was sold to Starplex Cinemas in early May.

According to property records, Rave Southington LLC of Dallas, Texas, remains the owner of the 74,610-squarefoot complex at 1821 Meriden-Waterbury Road. The 16-acre parcel and the building are listed for lease or sale with the commercial real estate firm RHYS.

The listing agent could not be reached for comment.

Southington Economic Development Coordinator Louis Perillo said he has been in contact with representatives from Cinemark and that, while the current site presents good retail opportunities, he would prefer that it remain a movie theater.

“Would it make a great retail opportunity?” Perillo asked rhetorically. “Yes, however the town loses an opportunity for a variety of entertainment. It’s a wonderful amenity. It’s a quality-of-life amenity.”

Perillo said a lifestyle center proposed for Cheshire near the Southington town line scaled back its design, which would have included retail, residential and a movie theater. He said the movie theater is no longer part of the scheme and it would benefit Southington to keep one in town, instead of more retail.

“We would prefer some redevelopment that adds some common benefit,” he said. “We’re doing what we can.”

Perillo said he understands the movie theater business is very difficult now and is a high-cost operation, which will determine what the new owners do.

An assistant manager at the theater referred all questions to Cinemark’s corporate communications department, which has not returned repeated requests for comment.

But the expansive theater lobby was filled Wednesday with moviegoers taking advantage of some of the lowest ticket prices in the state.

Matinees are $5 for adults. Tickets for children under 11 are $5 during prime time and adults are $7 during prime time. 3-D movies are $10. With nearby Berlin, Plainville, Hartford and Waterbury offering stiff competition, low ticket prices are a selling point for Southington.

“It’s a beautiful theater.” said moviegoer Bob Zdrobowski “It’s an easy in and out,” said Renee Poetri. (203) 317-2255 Twitter: @CConnBiz

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