Regal Renews in Times Square With Dramatic Renovation Plans

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As movie theaters face more and more competition, they are shrinking their spaces or jazzing up their offerings.

SEE ALSO: Movie Theater Chain Regal Inks 38K-SF Deal to Anchor Sunnyside Project

Well, Regal Entertainment Group, which today was acquired by British theater chain Cineworld for $3.6 billion, is planning on doing both at its Regal Cinemas movie theater in Times Square, Commercial Observer has learned.

Regal has extended the lease for Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX for 10 years at 247 West 42nd Street, where it has operated a roughly 78,562-square-foot theater since 1999, according to Patrick Smith of JLL. The new lease is for a smaller space of an unspecified size—including the ground floor shrinking to 2,000 square feet from 8,000—and upgrades will include luxury recliners, an expanded food menu, a 4DX auditorium as well as an IMAX VR experience. (The existing lease would have expired in 2019.)

The theater is part of Tishman Realty’s 200,000-square-foot, five-story E-Walk Retail and Entertainment complex on the north side of West 42nd Street close to Eighth Avenue, and connected to the Westin New York, according to information provided by JLL.

“We see an opportunity for a rebranding and enhancement program that will transform the property into a top destination for large-format retailers and experiential entertainment users,” Joseph Simone, the president of Tishman Real Estate Services, said in a prepared statement.

Asking rents for Regal’s floors were as follows: $800 per square foot at grade, $175 a foot on the second and $100 per foot on the third.

Tishman, the complex’s original developer and owner, has launched a property-wide upgrade, slated for completion in 2020. In January, the owner tapped Smith along with Erin Grace, Corey Zolcinski and Matt Ogle, all of JLL, with the leasing assignment. They did the deal direct with Regal. Tishman plans to add two to three additional large anchor tenants, in the space it has recaptured from Regal, Smith said.

Other tenants include BB King Blues Club, Coldstone Creamery, Dallas BBQ and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. But the property overhaul is expected to include some tenants vacating.

Regal’s $3.6 billion acquisition by Cineworld today will bring together two powerhouse movie chains—Regal, with its 7,300 screens (in 561 cinemas) across the country and Cineworld and its more than 2,000 screens worlwide, according to Variety. Meanwhile, Regal’s revenue is down as is its attendance, while its share price ticked up with a pending sale on the horizon, Variety noted.

Tishman opened the complex in 1999 “as part of the revitalization of New York’s famed 42nd Street, one of the largest urban renewal programs in the United States,” a press release from JLL indicates.

The revamped Regal—across the street from an AMC Theatres location—will be smaller with fewer than the current 13 screens.

According to Smith, “the approach here is to have less seats and more productivity per seat.” That, of course means, ticket prices will go up.

Smith pointed out that Tishman’s project “coincides” with the recent announcement that a Lionsgate entertainment center will open across the street, and “kicks off” the transition of the project, although renovation is already underway. (Three theaters are being revamped at one time, Smith said.)

Movie theaters in general are undergoing a transformation to “experiential” or smaller formats, as CO has previously reported. With more demanding customers, movie theaters have to trick out their houses to make people to leave their couches.

A spokesperson for Regal didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.