Sunday, January 21, 2018
Business

Largo's AMC Tri-City 8 theater will close Jan. 19

LARGO — A group of four retirees strolled happily out of the AMC Tri-City 8 movie theater the other day, laughing and talking, having spent the afternoon watching American Hustle on the big screen.

The two married couples in their late 60s often go to the movies together. So why pick the Tri-City 8?

"It's cheap. It's close to where we live. They have all the latest films," said Don Avondale of Largo. "A lot of seniors around here go to this movie house. We're all really going to miss it when it's gone."

The Tri-City 8, one of Pinellas County's oldest existing movie theaters, will close for good in one week. Its last day in business will be Sunday, Jan. 19.

The theater isn't part of the plans for a total redevelopment of Tri-City Plaza, an aging retail center at the northwest corner of U.S. 19 and East Bay Drive.

Construction is expected to start within months on a transformation of the shopping plaza, which is nearly 50 years old. The complex appears outdated, and its buildings and parking lots are oddly configured by today's standards.

"What's driving this is the age of the center and the funky layout. It's tired. It's time for a renovation on a major scale," said Paul Puma, regional president for Kimco Realty Corp., the shopping center's owner. "The location is very good."

According to Kimco and city documents, here are highlights of the plan:

• The work will be done in two phases, allowing some existing tenants to move into new quarters while the construction is ongoing.

• Several buildings will be demolished and replaced. Plans show large new retail buildings on the east side of the property and more new storefronts on the west side lining up alongside the existing Publix.

• The shopping plaza's Publix will stay. So will the Applebee's and Chili's restaurants on outparcels.

• The complex currently has about 218,000 square feet of space and should have nearly 230,000 when the work is done.

• Many of the new retail spaces will be larger than the existing ones and will be geared toward attracting larger tenants.

For the Tri-City Plaza's next incarnation, Kimco is lining up a mix of new tenants and existing ones. The landlord is currently securing leases with major new tenants, said Puma, who declined to be more specific at this time.

As for the AMC Tri-City 8, it's getting caught up in an industry-wide trend of older, smaller multiplexes shutting their doors.

Although Tri-City Plaza opened in 1966, the movie theater was built in the 1980s, around the same time that AMC built the Seminole 8. At the time, AMC also had movie theaters at Tyrone Square and Clearwater and Countryside malls. All of those theaters are gone now.

Competing with gleaming new multiplexes that boast stadium seating, the Tri-City has survived until now as an inexpensive option. Movie tickets there are $4 during the daytime and $6 after 6 p.m. The theater also has been hosting a raucous, live Rocky Horror Picture Show production on Saturday nights.

Kimco, which is one of Florida's biggest retail landlords, hasn't yet gotten approval from Largo officials for its plans for Tri-City Plaza. Kimco is still in talks with the city about some relatively minor details, both sides say.

These days, the shopping center is emptying out. Many storefronts are vacant, and many of the remaining restaurants and businesses are moving.

"They couldn't really offer us the same location, and they were planning to raise our rent quite a bit," said Juan Carvojal, administrator of Amazon Animal Hospital, which is moving to Roosevelt Boulevard.

"We will be here through April, and possibly for the rest of the year. Maybe longer," said Benito Hasugluw, manager of CiCi's Pizza.

Contact Mike Brassfield at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151.

Comments
Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems

Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems

Charles Lee had been dealing with an excruciating toothache for days. The pain made it hard to eat or sleep or focus on work. But Lee, 54, didn’t have dental insurance. His job as a delivery truck driver offered only a supplemental policy that was to...
Published: 01/22/18
Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

For years, Edward Peachey has bragged about the number of jobless people he has helped find work.As president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, he’s in charge of the two main government agencies that provide training to the...
Published: 01/20/18
Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Keith Harris fondly looks back on some memorable days from his Tampa upbringing when he worked as a lifeguard at a pool next to a Boys & Girls Club. ¶Whenever it rained, he watched as the kids retreated to the safe haven of the club. They entered int...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Published: 01/19/18
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Published: 01/19/18

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Published: 01/19/18
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother has gone viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Published: 01/19/18

Addicted to your smartphone? Now there’s an app for that

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.The media tycoon turned wellness entrepreneur wants to keep you out of your phone, too, with a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation...
Published: 01/19/18
Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Published: 01/19/18
Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest hope for transportation in the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel and attract 4,500 new riders at a fraction of the cost of light rail....
Published: 01/19/18