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Work to upgrade Northpark theater starts; Rainbow Co-op reopens in mall

By JACK WEATHERLY

Work to transform the former UA Northpark 14 into a multi-screen theater with a bar area and power recliners began Tuesday.

The Northpark Mall bought the theater in September 2018 and began weighing options for best use of the property.

It decided that an updated theater was the best option.

United Development of Southlake, Texas, which had been the owner, had failed in efforts to sell it.

Pacific Retail Capital Partners of El Segundo, Calif., bought the mall in September 2016 from Simon Property Group, which built it in 1984. It completed a multi-million-dollar renovation in November 2018. It later exercised its right to first refusal and bought the theater.

The UA Northpark closed in January.

The new theater will be the second one to open in Ridgeland. A Malco theater is under construction in the Renaissance at Colony Park. It will be a six-screen operation and also feature a bar and reclining seats. It is expected to open this fall.

Paul Farnsworth, B&B Theatres’ director of public relations, was quoted as saying that the Northpark theater will be fully renovated inside and out, with the addition of a bar area to be called the “Marquee Lounge.” Farnsworth said the facility is expected to open sometime in mid-2020.

This is the next step of our journey after completing the first phase of redevelopment,” Northpark General Manager Kasey Dickson said in a news release.

B&B Theatres’ cutting-edge vision and contemporary design will complement the new Northpark perfectly,” Dickson said.

B&B is headquartered in Liberty, Mo., and operates 400 screens at 50 locations in the nation, including the Vicksburg Mall 6.

Another addition to the Northpark Mall list is the Rainbow Co-op, which had its grand opening Sept. 18.

The co-op, which had been in Fondren since 1980, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize its finances in March 2018 but closed later, citing the poor condition of the building, recurring flooding and lack of parking space.

Afterward, the city of Ridgeland, “which has been working with many of our local vendors . . . , showed us several locations that met our needs,” the co-op said in a post on its Facebook page.

Christy Pender, marketing director and business development manager for the mall, said that the co-op fits into Northpark’s strategy to work closely with the community when adding to its lineup of stores.

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About Jack Weatherly