Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

'Roof problem' is holdup at proposed cinema bistro at Main Street Shopping Center

CARROLLWOOD — Flooding, a landlord-tenant dispute, a threatened lawsuit and a tsunami.

One problem after another has plagued the proposed cinema bistro at the Main Street Shopping Center, and now the theater's owner can't say for sure when it will open.

"It has been a nightmare," said Howard Edelman, who co-owns the business with partner Gonen Minuskin.

Problems started unfolding last spring after heavy rains revealed a leaky roof as the theater's six screening rooms, restaurant, bar and separate party rooms upstairs were still under construction.

A contractor hired by the landlord in July ripped off the roof to make repairs but didn't complete the project before a heavy downpour struck in August, leaving the half-finished theater in ruins.

"The water was just pouring in through the ceiling," he said. "We had to rip out ceiling tiles, sheet rock, the electrical. The cabinets were ruined. There was water everywhere."

Edelman's insurer agreed to pay $90,000 and sent a flood-abatement company to clean the mess.

The roofing work was finally completed, but then a dispute erupted between Edelman and landlord RMC Property Management Group over who should pay remaining costs for the damage, estimated at $130,000. Edelman blamed RMC.

Even before then, problems were brewing. This past spring, Edelman got word that delivery of six Sony digital projectors from Japan had been delayed because of the earthquake and tsunami that struck that nation in March. They're now sitting in storage.

Then, about a month ago, an attorney representing the Broward County Film Society threatened to sue unless Edelman changed the theater's name — then called Cinema Paradiso Bistro — because it was too similar to the name of a theater in Fort Lauderdale called Cinema Paradiso.

The proposed theater's name now is Villagio Cinemas. The marquee at the shopping center was changed about three weeks ago.

"We could have fought it, but it was just easier to change the name," Edelman said.

Edelman is a former executive at Warner Bros., Regal and UA Cinemas and co-owns with Minuskin Channelside Cinemas 10 in downtown Tampa. He says he's never encountered so many problems in opening a theater. "It's been one thing after another."

While Edelman insists he's still pushing ahead with the project, he concedes he's not exactly sure when the theater will open. He said he's hoping for a grand opening in May, but that unless the financial dispute with RMC is resolved soon, it might not happen until the fall, or later.

"If we don't open for May we'll miss the summer," he said. "Traditionally, theaters open in May or just before Thanksgiving."

Complicating matters, the company that Edelman and Minuskin own at the Channelside entertainment complex, Channelside Cinemas Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August. Edelman, who is president of that company, said the bankruptcy filing has nothing to do with the delays at Villagio Cinemas. The holdup now, he said, is due to the on-going financial dispute with RMC.

Until that's settled, Edelman said, construction at the site has been halted and he's refusing to pay rent.

Several calls to RMC's chief executive Mitchell Rice were not returned.

The theater is the former home of Main Street Cinemas. It sits tucked in the back of the Main Street shopping plaza at 11776 N Dale Mabry Highway. Edelman said he took possession of the defunct space about a year ago and began remodeling the interior shortly after, anticipating a May 2012 opening.

The lobby at Villagio Cinemas is intended to resemble an Italian village courtyard, with faux-stone columns and balustrades.

Theatergoers in six screening rooms would sit in plush recliners with tables that swivel toward them. The menu would include entrees, salads, appetizers and drinks. VIP rooms on the second floor would offer separate space for parties.

"Once it's done, it will be beautiful," Edelman said. "Basically it was a roof problem, and if it wasn't for that we'd be open now."

The in-theater dining concept is catching on around the country, particularly in places like New York and Los Angeles. Cobb Theatres, which is not affiliated with Villagio Cinemas, opened CineBistro theaters in Hyde Park and Wesley Chapel.

Rich Shopes can be reached at [email protected]

CLARIFICATION: Villagio Cinemas, a proposed Carrollwood theater with dining, is not affiliated with Cobb Theatres, which opened CineBistro theaters in Hyde Park and Wesley Chapel. Earlier versions of this story appearing in print and online were unclear on that point.

Comments
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Florida Toys for Tots charity raffles off AR-15 rifle. Gun debate ensues.

Florida Toys for Tots charity raffles off AR-15 rifle. Gun debate ensues.

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commission Vice Chairman Steve Champion wanted to do something to help raise money for the annual Toys for Tots drive. So he donated the grand prize for the Nov. 18 raffle:It was an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.That led to ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s difficult to call a volleyball program that has been to the Final Four eight times an underdog, especially the way Florida rallied to beat Southern California and punch its latest ticket. Yet of the four schools descending on ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Lost cell signal recently? The culprit could be a 40-year-old Ruskin man who deputies said stole thousands of dollars worth of the equipment that powers cell towers. The theft interrupted cell tower signals on at least two occasions, deputies said, i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Foot washes ashore in Canada, again; Abbas wants U.S. out as Mideast mediator; 12 sentenced to life for gang-raping kids; more in world news

Foot washes ashore in Canada, again; Abbas wants U.S. out as Mideast mediator; 12 sentenced to life for gang-raping kids; more in world news

CanadaJust another foot washing ashoreAnother human foot has been found on British Columbia’s coastline, the 13th such grim discovery since 2007. Police said a man was walking on the beach in Jordan River on Vancouver Island when his dog found the fo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg police arrest Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

St. Petersburg police arrest Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested several people, including a son of a prominent flooring store chain’s late founder, as part of an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in an alley last year.The woman, Taylor M...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Is this asteroid an alien ship?; Omarosa out; Newtown ‘still so raw’; more in U.S. news

Is this asteroid an alien ship?; Omarosa out; Newtown ‘still so raw’; more in U.S. news

SpaceIs this asteroid an alien ship?Scientists are studying an object that’s tumbling through our solar system to see if it’s a disabled alien spaceship. You read that right. Unlike other asteroids, ‘Oumuamua — Hawaiian for "first messenger" — is ci...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., Dec. 13, midday:53 738 7036e_SRit10321Wed., Dec. 13, evening:57 775 2681e_SRit55890LottoWed., Dec....
Updated: 1 hour ago