1. News

Movie theater closing in Ybor City. Coworking space might replace part of it.

Gabriel Robles, left, and Cecilia Morales, right, head to the AMC Classic Centro Ybor 10 movie theater on Friday. The movie theater is closing next month. [ANGELIQUE HERRING   |   Times]
Gabriel Robles, left, and Cecilia Morales, right, head to the AMC Classic Centro Ybor 10 movie theater on Friday. The movie theater is closing next month. [ANGELIQUE HERRING | Times]
Published Jun. 28

TAMPA – For over a decade, Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco was a regular at the movie theater in Centro Ybor.
As early as 2004, before the theater closed half its screens, it was a go-to stop in Ybor after dining or seeing family at the Italian Club.
"I loved the convenience" Maniscalco said.

But at the end of next month — after a few showings of expected box-office hit Lion King — the movie theater will close, ending its 19-year run in the Centro Ybor complex, said Gene Siudut, vice chairman of the city of Tampa's Ybor City Development Corp.

The theater may have had trouble attracting customers, he said.

Ybor City has developed into a tourist district whose residents are largely young professionals more interested in streaming movies online than watching them on the big screen.
"I think Ybor itself isn't the greatest fit for a movie theater," Siudut said.
The theater opened in 2000 as a part of an effort to revitalize Ybor City and occupies a big chunk of the 210,000-square-foot Centro Ybor complex. Developed as a public-private partnership to mirror Ybor City's historic red-brick look, Centro Ybor ran into financial woes that forced the city of Tampa to take over loans in 2004.
The theater has faced other economic challenges.
In 2016, half the 20 screens closed and Ashley Furniture took the space for a headquarters. Then, original owner Muvico Theaters sold to industry giant AMC Theatres.
The space won't be empty for long. Two tenants have already made offers, said Ken Jones, CEO of Centro Ybor's owner Third Lake Capital.
A coworking company with shared office space for rent may bring around 500 employees to the area, Siudut said.

The agreement hinges on a 20-year-old requirement set by the city of Tampa: Retail usage of the complex must not dip below 50 percent.
"While it's unfortunate the theater is leaving, the future of the space is very bright," Jones said.

Hundreds of new employees will mean more people to patronize restaurants and stores.
The closing is a particular challenge for the Gasparilla International Film Festival, which has used the theater as its host location for the past few years.
Organizers of the festival see Ybor City's walkability and charm as an attraction for festival guests and celebrities.
"Aside from our opening night at the Tampa Theatre, we didn't leave Ybor the whole time," said Monica Varner, the festival's executive director .
Joe Alexander, president of the festival board, holds out hope that the event can somehow remain in Ybor City.

He noted that four years ago, another shuttered theater in the former Channelside plaza downtown reopened briefly just to host the festival.

Whoever takes over the theater space, Centro Ybor must strike a fine balance in the retailers it goes after, Siudut said.

"I don't think we needed a Victoria's Secret in a walking outdoor mall," he said. "It's not in line with the culture of the district."

But he also wants to make sure the retail requirement is met, to keep out some "giant blank office space."

Jones said the right number of visitors and employees is key to the success of Centro Ybor tenants, but he said Third Lake Capital is committed to continuing the complex's retail presence.
Contact Amanda Zhou at Follow @amondozhou.


  1. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has launched a campaign dubbed "Bead Free Bay" in an effort to keep beads out of Tampa Bay during the annual Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
    Boaters, especially, are targeted in an information campaign designed to protect the marine ecosystem.
  2. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, questions investigators during a presentation of the findings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) [J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP]
    Approval of the two charges against the president would send the matter to the full House for a vote expected next week.
  3. A vigil at Pine Trails Park in Parkland for victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Credit: Al Diaz, Miami Herald
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. At the request of a state lawmaker, Citizens Property Insurance Co.’s board is again bringing in an outside evaluator to help the insurer decide if and how to cull its policyholder base. Pictured is  Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) (left) and Barry Gilway, CEO of Citizens. [Courtesy of Sen. Jeff Brandes and Citizens Property Insurance Co.]
    At the request of St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes, the insurer will look for ways to shrink.
  5. Katie Golden, left, died from a drug overdose in 2017. Titan Goodson, right, is accused of manslaughter in her death. [Family photo | Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
    Titan Goodson stands accused in the 2017 heroin overdose death of Plant High senior Katie Golden. In an unusual trial, a jury will decide if he is responsible.
  6. Some schools have already closed for the holidays, but everyone should be off by the end of the day Dec. 20. [Times (2015)]
    Some schools are closing for the holidays this week; others won’t be done for a few days. Then it’s lights out until early January.
  7. In addition to offering groceries through Prime Now, Amazon has just launched Amazon Fresh in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    The online retailer branches out beyond the Whole Foods’ organic products it already offers.
  8. Traffic backing up on southbound Interstate 275 on the Howard Frankland Bridge Thursday evening after the Florida Highway Patrol said a fatal crash took place hours earlier. [Florida Department of Transportation]
    The collision of two pickup trucks left traffic snarled for hours. Motorists should find another way into Pinellas County.
  9. This undated photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, from St. Petersburg, Fla. One of the victims of the shooting Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., has been identified as Haitham, 19, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times. (U.S. Navy via AP) [U.S. NAVY PHOTO   |  AP]
    Ferg’s will sponsor the benefit concert for the family of Mohammad “Mo” Haitham
  10. Pinellas County Commission chairwoman Karen Seel said a Tampa economic development group's recent decision to put "Tampa Bay" into its name "does great harm to the progress we have made on regional collaboration."
    But in Tampa, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit, government-supported economic development group is giving no sign of backing off the new name.