A new theater is currently being negotiated for Foothills Mall and could possibly be open by spring of 2012.
The mall, owned by CBL Properties in Chattanooga, is currently negotiating with a national theater chain to build in the former Belk for Men department store at Foothills Mall, mall manager Mike Kaufman said.
“This is a potentially a huge deal for the property. Maryville has had Carmike Cinemas at Foothills Plaza for a number of years, but the movie industry is very competitive and without state of the art technology and a stadium seating facility, you just aren’t going to attract audiences, and you’re going to have lot of ‘bleeding,’” Kaufman said.
Kaufman said the Carmike Cinemas at Foothills Plaza have seen this hemorrhaging of movie-going customers. “We’ve seen a lot of customers and moviegoers in the Blount County area who are no doubt traveling to Knoxville and the Pinnacle 18,” Kaufman said. “They’re getting state of the art treatment. We intend to create new opportunity for the them to stay in the Blount County area.”
Kaufman would not identify the theater chain, but said, “we are still in the negotiating stage and setting this up, it’s looking good.”
Plans would call for most of the existing, empty Belk for Men building to be demolished and a new facility set up using roughly same footprint. “It won’t be shaped like a rectangle but it will be in the footprint and will have access from the outside parking area as well as access from the mall via a concourse that connects the mall commons area with the cinema lobby,” he said.
A prototype for the theater is at the College Square Mall in Morristown. “What you would see in Maryville would be very, very similar to what is there,” Kaufman said. “The hopes are we would be under construction within the next four to five months and tentatively we would be looking for a spring 2012 opening.”