Citrus Park Town Center has filed a lawsuit against Regal Cinemas, the movie theater that has operated at the suburban mall for 23 years.
The lawsuit alleges that the movie company stopped paying rent from April 2020 through July 2021 — notably when COVID-19 had emptied many businesses, including theaters.
The lawsuit contends that Regal Cinemas now owes $2.8 million in rent, late fees, interest and sales tax. Under the terms of the lease, Regal Cinemas had agreed to pay the mall approximately $148,000 a month, according to the lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County civil court.
Regal Cinemas shut down its more than 500 locations — and more than 7,000 movie screens — across the country in October 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced via Twitter that it was reopening select theaters in April 2021 “in time for Godzilla vs. Kong.” The Regal Cinemas at Citrus Park reopened in May 2021.
Officials with Citrus Park and Regal Cinemas could not immediately be reached for comment.
Citrus Park Town Center, formerly known as Westfield Citrus Park, opened in 1999 in the northwest suburbs of Hillsborough County, not far from the Veterans Expressway.
The mall is currently undergoing a makeover at a time when malls across America are morphing to try to survive. The old Sears department store space will become a family entertainment center with go-karts, laser tag, mini golf, a retro arcade and more.