El Nuevo Dia reported that the CineVista location at the Mayaguez Mall, closed in October 2008, will NOT re-open. In fact, projection equipment has already been auctioned off. Mayaguez Town Center, Carolina Plaza, and Plaza Real in Humacao all closed their doors as well.
Cause of the close out? CineVista was owned by CV Entertainment Group, and as I reported in August, they are under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with $14 MILLION in debt. Maybe that's why the popcorn was always cold. Were they trying to spare every last kernel?
Now the close out of the theaters is certainly not going to be a nail in the coffin of the Mayaguez Mall, although retailers there are already dealing with reduced sales (as reported by Caribbean Business). However, it will certainly have some impact.
Adjusted by inflation, retail sales have fallen 4.8% during the first half of 2008.
I guess Cesar Lopez, Vice President of Mayaguez Mall, and the executive team are scrambling to determine to whom they can lease out the lot.
According to El Nuevo Dia, Lopez says the mall will no longer have any cinemas. In fact, they plan to tear the building down and create a new building to fill with one of the big chains. One must wonder which big chain is financing that project.
It might be suggested that a better turnaround can be achieved by simply retrofitting the building for its next use (if not cinemas). Did the concrete termites get into it?
Other than the fact that I do not like having to drive (1) further through (2) more traffic, (3) burning more gas... I think some of the retailers and restaurants might be a little concerned as well.
You see the concept of dinner and a movie, not to mention "killing time at the mall" before or afterward is not going to happen there now with the movie goer crowd (considerable Friday through Sunday). So Chili's might be selling a few less of those $8 side salads. I'm sure they have already felt the impact of my $200/month not entering their registers already since I proved that "I just CAN quit you".
So besides Chili's, Chicago Grill, Pizza Delight and some of the other chains losing the benefits of the "dinner" part of "dinner & a movie" (or the ice cream cone after a date at Baskin-Robbins), many of the retailers in the mall could feel a slight decline in pre and post movie goer business. And, of course, they also have to deal with that new "big chain" moving in to fill up the new space when the building is completed some time in the next 2 years (provided they don't hire this crew).
I'm sure Office Max does not want to see a Circuit City or Future Shop parked next door, and none of the clothing or shoe stores want to see brand name outlets move in.
So for me, I will just use my analytical skills to find a new course of action. While I get over to the Western Plaza to see a flick at the Caribbean Cinemas, I can stop off at my favorite Longhorn. They have earned all of the business I formally gave to Chili's before the salad debacle. Then when I finally arrive at the movies, I can do a little shopping at Sam's Club and Kmart, and some of the other stores based in that plaza. I'm sure El Meson or the little Chinese food franchise, or Payless Shoes, will be glad to have my (and your) more frequent business.
For all of you dinner & a movie crowd out there in Cabo Rojo, Mayaguez, Hormigueros and surrounding areas, feel free to borrow my strategy and drive on past the Mayaguez Mall. The entertainment there now is limited to coffee at Borders, or ear damage at "Time Out" arcade.
Note to Caribbean Cinemas: Why are you not making the move while this structure is already in place? In 10 years with economic recovery, you are not going to be able to meet capacity at the Western plaza location. You already have long lines on busy nights. The land developers were certainly not inactive in building new housing communities in Cabo Rojo the last 3 years. With this structure you will already have a new stream of revenue (under improved management) at a critical location that cannot be secured again once this building is demolished. To increase your capacity (if you miss *this* window of opportunity), you have to find a suitable new location, secure the land, and invest in the new building. Seems like a win-win for you now to get talking to Cesar Lopez, and talk some sense into him.
And, by the way, for those of you who visited the Western Plaza on Thursday, November 6th, 2008, why did the parking lot smell like someone had killed an elephant a few days prior?