By Jack Weatherly
No one was in a hurry to buy the building that houses the UA Northpark 14.
That was obvious after its owner, United Development Co. of Southlake, Texas, put it on the market in early 2016.
It failed to get a buyer in more than two years.
The owner then tried to auction the 36,000-square-foot building and surrounding parking space on the north side of the Northpark Mall on June 28 of this year.
No buyers again.
Pacific Retail Capital Partners – which bought the 958,000-square-foot Northpark Mall from the Simon Property Group for an undisclosed amount in September 2016 – decided to exercise its first-right of refusal option, which was part of the acquisition. The deal was finalized on Friday.
Turns out, Pacific Retail may well not want it either – as a movie house.
“We’re weighing all options,” said Christy Pender, marketing and business development manager for Northpark.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for us pave the way for future growth opportunities,” Pender said in an interview on Monday.
“There are several exciting things we could do.
“If you look at the building and the parking around it, it’s a pretty nice piece of land.”
Pender said the plans would fit in with the multimillion-dollar remodeling and repurposing of the mall, which was built in 1984 on the north side of County Line Road in Ridgeland and last underwent a major update in 1998.
Malls of that era are facing headwinds of online shopping and third-party shipping. So malls are attempting to reinvent themselves as destination and entertainment centers along with retailing.
Northpark’s future, which will be celebrated in a grand opening in mid-November, includes enhanced dining, a children’s play area, along with upgraded restrooms, interior and exterior landscaping, furniture, fixtures, lighting and common areas.
As far as the lease agreement with Regal Entertainment Group, Pender would only say that the theater “currently remains operational.”
Regal was sold to British chain Cineworld for $3.6 billion in December, according to Variety.
Knoxville-based Regal operates 561 cinemas in 43 states and U.S. territories. Its major brands are Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theatres.
Regal put itself on the sale block in 2015 but could not find a buyer, Variety reported.
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