Originally created 08/17/99

Cinema to open in November

Regal Cinemas is hoping to open its 20-screen theater at the Augusta Exchange in November, the company's director of marketing said Monday.

The theater is the next big project to open at the steadily expanding shopping center off Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway and Wheeler Road. The center is about three-fourths complete, developer Jim Timberlake said.

A 65,000 square-foot department store and two more restaurants -- one that serves Italian food and a fast food eatery -- are under negotiation. The developer expects to have announcements soon.

He also has plans for about 10 more stores at the center.

"It's been a great deal," Mr. Timberlake said.

A pre-Thanksgiving Day opening would give the theater a chance to cash in on the holiday season, a lucrative time for theater companies in recent years.

However, no specific opening date has been set, Regal officials said.

The new theater will offer stadium-seating, stepped seating that allows moviegoers so-called "unobstructed views" of the screen. And it will have a cafe, which serves gourmet coffee and cookies and muffins.

The theater is expected to employ about 100.

Regal marketing director Jennifer Harris said she did not know what the ticket prices would be, or what would happen to the 12-screen theater at Augusta West Plaza shopping center, which is not far from the Augusta Exchange.

Augusta Exchange has so far been a successful retail development.

"It's bigger than we expected it to be," Mr. Timberlake said.

He and his partner, Tom Abernathy, are from Atlanta.

Recent store openings at the center include: Zany Brainy, a store that offers educational toys for kids; Goody's Family Clothing Store and Just For Feet, an athletic shore store.

Just For Feet, opened a 20,000-square foot store earlier this month.

Frank Witsil can be reached at (706) 823-3352.


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