October 26, 2020

Regal movie theater to close at Virginia Beach Town Center

VIRGINIA BEACH — After the Regal movie theater chain announced this month that it would stop showing movies indefinitely amid the pandemic, at least one location in Hampton Roads is set to close permanently.

Armada Hoffler announced Monday that it had terminated the lease of the Regal Columbus Movies 12 at 104 Constitution Drive, across from the developer’s Virginia Beach Town Center. The lease had fallen into default. The location had reopened for a little more than a month before Regal announced it would stop showing movies company-wide as of early October.

The theater sits on 3 acres, much of it a parking lot, that Armada Hoffler described as a “prime” site for redevelopment.

Armada Hoffler also terminated a Regal movie theater lease in Harrisonburg near the James Madison University campus that encompasses 10 acres. The two theaters, in Virginia Beach and Harrisonburg, were the only movie theater leases in Armada Hoffler’s portfolio.

The company envisions building a “major multifamily component amongst other uses” on both sites, referring to apartments, Armada Hoffler CEO Louis Haddad said in a statement. The company has built multiple high-rise apartments at Town Center.

“We would have been pleased to see these two leases through to their contractual expirations,” Haddad said in the statement. “However, following Regal’s default and recent decision to indefinitely suspend all operations, we regained full control over two prime pieces of real estate, thereby accelerating our long-term goal of redevelopment.”

Armada Hoffler bought the neighboring 12-acre Columbus Village II, where the Regal movie theater is located, in late 2016. Several months ago, Haddad told investors during an earnings call that “the current crisis may well give us the opportunity to unlock the full potential of this site sooner than we had anticipated.”

Cineworld Group, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, operates in 10 countries and reported revenue of $712.4 million in the first six months of the year, compared with nearly $2.2 billion a year ago. The company has also noted it had negotiated payment deferrals or rent relief with many of its landlords. Regal has nearly 550 movie theaters in 47 U.S. states and territories.

Regal has six other locations in Hampton Roads — in Virginia Beach (at 2133 General Booth Blvd.), Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Williamsburg and Suffolk.

by Kimberly Pierceall
The Virginian-Pilot

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