Make us your home page
Instagram

Countryside mall says 99 parking spaces for new theater is enough

CLEARWATER — Can Westfield Countryside mall really add a 12-screen movie theater, restaurants and still find a place for everyone to park?

We're going to find out.

The mall is about to break ground on a state-of-the-art cineplex that will open in spring 2012. There's a lot of excitement about it because this will be the first time in nearly a decade that Clearwater has had a first-run movie theater.

The Cobb multiplex will be housed in a nearly 70,000-square-foot addition to be built at the mall's southwest corner, near Sears. The theater will be on the addition's second floor. The ground floor beneath it will have room for several restaurants and stores — none of which have been named yet.

"We think this is going to be great, not only for the mall but for the community," said mall marketing director Kelly Edwards. "We have full approval from the city, and we are currently working toward a construction start in the very near future."

According to records obtained from Clearwater's Planning Department, the mall will add 99 parking spaces to prepare for the addition of a 2,000-seat theater.

So what will that mean when moviegoers decide to see next year's summer blockbusters at the brand new Cobb Countryside 12?

Mall officials say they're confident that there will be enough parking.

"We have a good-sized parking lot," Edwards said. "All of our entrances are nicely spread throughout the perimeter of the entire mall, so you're never parked far from an entrance."

The mall currently has 5,620 parking spaces, and it will reconfigure its lot to create 5,719 spaces, city records show. The city is requiring the mall to maintain its current parking ratio — 4.4 spaces per 1,000 square feet of interior floor space.

"There's a huge amount of parking at JCPenney and Sears that is hardly ever used," said city planner Scott Kurleman, who compiled a 152-page report about the movie theater project. "There shouldn't be that great of an impact because they'll still have the same ratio of parking."

To carve out another 99 spaces, the mall will adjust the angle of some parking rows, and will also shrink its spaces from 10 by 20 feet to a size of 9 by 18 feet, which is allowed by the city's codes, Kurleman said. The 80-acre mall property is hemmed in on all sides and can't really expand its parking lot, he said.

Old theaters closed

Of course, Countryside mall used to have its own movie theater until about a decade ago. But that theater had half as many screens as the new one will. The old AMC Countryside 6 was in an outbuilding at the east end of the mall, where Lifestyle Family Fitness is located now.

The old theater closed in 2000 along with a five-screen AMC theater at Clearwater Mall. Then a small United Artists theater on U.S. 19 near Countryside mall went dark in 2002.

Clearwater's older movie houses were made obsolete by the splashy new Woodlands Square 20, which opened in 2000 in Oldsmar with stadium seating and high-quality sound.

The Woodlands megaplex continues to attract big weekend crowds to this day, as Clearwater residents have to drive to Oldsmar, Largo, Palm Harbor or even Tampa to go to the movies.

Countryside mall, which is chiefly known for its ice skating rink, says its new multiplex will incorporate the latest technology and amenities, including:

• Stadium seating with 18-inch risers and 4-foot row spacing.

• Digital projection with 3D capabilities.

• Extra-wide rocking chair seating with high backs and tilt-up cup holder armrests.

• Closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

Nine stores in Countryside mall have moved or closed to make way for the multiplex, leaving behind empty storefronts for the moment. American Greetings and Somnis Sleep Systems have closed. Atomic Tattoos, Dollar Value, Payless Shoes, Radio Shack and T-Shirt Diner have moved. Dairy Queen and White Fin Sushi have temporarily closed but will reopen this spring.

The Countryside multiplex will be Cobb Theatres' first foray into Pinellas County. The Alabama-based company operates the Grove 16 Theatre off Interstate 75 and State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4151.

Countryside mall says 99 parking spaces for new theater is enough 02/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder on Wednesday further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    Vishal Mahtani (left), vice president of business development, Alexis Grant (center), executive editor, and Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, celebrate the news with their staff  Wednesday of making the new Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the country. They enjoyed champagne during a catered lunch at their office in downtown St. Petersburg after ranking 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]