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Land could be used for retail expansion

The owner of the Harbour View Grande movie theater is looking to expand its property.

Entertainment Properties Trust, the largest owner of megaplex theaters in the country, recently completed the purchase of 25 acres adjacent to the 16-screen theater. The new development, however, will not expand the theater itself.

“I would probably say it would be somewhat of a small lifestyle center,” said Jon Weis, company spokesperson for Entertainment Properties.

One option the company is considering is a grocery-anchored center, which would include a chain grocery store with several other smaller shops and restaurants, Weis said. However, that’s just an idea at this point, as no plans have been introduced to city officials.

In any case, the company will partner with a local developer to construct retail property on the land, Weis said.

“We are the only guys that do specifically movie theaters. All we do is develop and own them.”

“It’s not going to be a huge monstrosity,” Weis said. “It will be a nice neighborhood center.”

“The theater is by itself now, and that’s okay because theaters are a destination by themselves, but we thought the time was right to exercise our option to purchase the land.”

The 3-year-old theater had the “pretty significant number” of about 600,000 attendees in 2005, said Weis. That’s more than 1,600 per day. The facility, operated by Consolidated Theaters, seats about 3,000 at a time.

Right now, Weis said, the theater is very visible in the community, but “we’re looking to make it a destination by name.”

“We think we’re going to be very successful there,” Weis said. “We’re very focused on what’s going on in Suffolk. This new development will be an additive to the theater as well as other developments near that area.”

Entertainment Properties, based in Kansas City, Mo., owns about 70 theaters in major metropolitan markets in the United States and Canada. It also owns the AMC Hampton 24 in Hampton.

tracy.agnew@suffolknewsherald.com