Friday, May 23, 2008

Owner of planned Laurel theater sold — but it’s still coming

Regal paid $210 million for Consolidated Theatres

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The acquisition of the prospective owner of a new Laurel movie theater is not expected to affect plans for the 16-screen cinema or the multi-use project it’s to be part of.

Consolidated Theatres, which was to own the new cinema in the Laurel Commons redevelopment project, was acquired last month by Regal Entertainment Group of Knoxville, Tenn., for $210 million in cash.

Construction at the former Laurel Mall, owned now by Somera Capital, is to begin in late 2009 and finish in 2010.

Dick Westerling, senior vice president of marketing for cinema giant Regal, said the theater would open as a 16-screen cinema with stadium seating.

‘‘Regal is moving forward with the Laurel Mall development and we do have an agreement,” he said.

Thomas Falatko, Somera Capital senior vice president, said the Regal takeover will not affect plans for the Laurel Commons project.

‘‘They’ve been out to the site,” Falatko said. ‘‘They’re assuming the lease, essentially on the same terms and conditions that we had worked out with Consolidated.”

Regal Cinemas, which operates 527 theaters, announced the buyout last month. In the deal, Regal acquired 28 theaters in Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The Laurel City Council approved the conceptual site plan for Laurel Commons in late 2007. The project will include a food market, health club, freestanding restaurants, retail stores and a 38,000-square-foot office building. A five-story building is to house one floor of commercial property and 440 multi-family residential units.