WESLEY CHAPEL — Central Pasco's first cinema is on track to open in June, Cobb Theatres officials said Wednesday.
Visible from Interstate 75 off the County Road 54 exit, the 16-screen multiplex will score another first: it's the first in the county to offer alcohol, beverages and food served right up to patrons in six upper-level auditoriums equipped with 350 "premium seats."
"We will offer a full service restaurant and bar upstairs for all to enjoy," said Jeremy Welman, Cobb's chief operating officer.
"And in-theatre dining in reserved leather chairs upstairs in the Cinebistro."
The only catch: you have to be 21 or older to reserve those special seats.
The split-level cinema also boasts a 140-seat restaurant and a small bar. In all, the cinema will have about 3,000 seats, and offer closed captioning for the hearing-impaired in at least one auditorium.
Closed captioning is subtitles projected onto reading plates attached to selected cinema seats.
The theater's opening would put the finishing touch on the $175-million Grove at Wesley Chapel mall, which opened four months ago.
"We're really hoping to be open in June," Welman said. "The building shell's up, but there's so much detail inside."
It was the first in a trio of malls competing for the affluent central Pasco market; the other two are the Shops at Wiregrass, scheduled to open this fall, and Cypress Creek Town Center, which announced an indefinite delay Wednesday because of environmental permitting problems.
The Cobb multiplex opens a new movie market in central Pasco. The nearest competitors are the Joy-Lan Drive-in at Dade City, Zephyrhills Cinema 10 and the Muvico Starlight in New Tampa.
Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 909-4613.