Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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144 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 B y focusing on developing theaters in underserved markets, Plano, Texas- based Cinemark USA has been able to build projects in many outlying market across the United States, as well as some of the largest cities in Latin America. At the end of 2014, the company was operat- ing 495 theaters and 5,676 screens in the United States and Latin America. Through the combination of build- ing new state-of-art theaters and stra- tegic acquisitions, the company opens approximately 175 to 200 screens per year across several platforms, including NextGen, Cinemark Reserve, Cinemark Movie Bistro and VIP recliners. Addition- ally, Cinemark USA owns and operates an array of brands, including Century-, Rave-, Tinseltown- and CinéArts- branded theaters. The concepts offer differing amenities and features that can be easily tailored to a market's demands. Cinemark Bistro offers more expansion food and beverage options, Cinemark Reserve offers a unique VIP section with expanded amenities and CinéArts emphasizes a more independent and sophisticated film product, which has proven pop- ular with developers in larger urban markets, explains Owens. The success of Cinemark has al- lowed it to become an even bigger player in the theater industry. The company's strong balance sheet al- lows it to financially support develop- ers looking for build-to-suit opportu- nities, as well as purchasing property for self-development and ground lease opportunities. While the company has room to play within the space, its movements are calculated to ensure quality and success. "Cinemark evaluates each market both for concept and viability," says Tom Ow- ens, executive vice president of real estate with Cinemark USA. "Although differing slightly depending upon U.S. or Latin America location, the evaluation takes into consideration demographics, devel- opment and sustainability of the long-term economic success of both the theater and the overall development." The company does not adhere to a one- size-fits-all philosophy and each theater is designed, including concept, building size, number of seats and food and beverage offerings, for each specific market oppor- tunity. This philosophy allows Cinemark to modify concepts to fit the exact needs and demands of the evolving moviegoer. The company is currently focused on expanding its technology amenities such as state-of-the-art auditoriums with large wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor screens; 4K digital projection powered by Barco proj- ects with RealD 3D capability; enhanced sound systems with multiple sound format capabilities; innovative cafeteria-style con- cession stands; in-theater digital signage; and reserved seating. Additionally, Cin- emark is tapping into the trend of luxury theaters by enhancing its food and bever- age offerings and enlarging the footprint of the theaters to accommodate luxury amenities. While the company is incorporat- ing new amenities and concepts into its brands, it's also focused on maintaining price points that still make going to the movies the most attractive alternative for a family night out, notes Owens. The company's one size doesn't fit all approach can been seen in two if its newest theater openings in Playa Vista, California, and Towson, Maryland. Both of theses project display Cinemark's com- mitment to tailor projects to its surround- ing and take advantage of infill market opportunities. Situated near Los Angeles, The Run- way at Playa Vista offers nine auditori- ums with wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screens, including a 70-foot Cinemark XD screen, the company's proprietary large screen format concept. Located within the mixed-use development with retail, office and residential offerings, the theater also taps into upscale clientele by offering a second-floor VIP balcony, which features leather reclining chairs and bar area with an outdoor patio, in several auditoriums. "With cutting-edge project technology, expanded menu items and luxury seating, The Runway at Playa Vista has certainly set the bar for movie going in L.A.," says Owens. The Towson Circle theater in Towson highlights Cinemark's ability to revitalize an area with infill development. Lo- cated across from the Towson Mall, the 15-screen theater sits atop a five- story parking garage and features a 60-foot XD screen and a VIP section with balcony seating. As the theater industry continues to evolve and technology advantages, Cinemark strives to stay at the front of the pack. The company's theaters are developing into entertainment cen- ters that offer developments a wide variety of entertainment options that can be view on its platform, explains Owens. Cinemark offers one of the most comprehensive pay-per-view platforms in the marketplace with entertainment options ranging from movies, live operas and plays to sport- ing events and concerts. While the excitement of a theater can be a huge draw for a developer, a theaters are not the right answer for every development. Working with seasoned operators to ensure long- term viability and finding a theater partner able to co-invest in the project are keys to creating a successful and thriving theater- anchored development. Taking the time to analyze a market's demographics, needs and demands, as well as considering how technical changes and technological advantages, which are transforming the industry, will help ensure the vitality of a theater-based project. "If your project passes such evaluation, due to all the technology innovations, the future of our industry has never been brighter for the concept in right project," says Owens. n Cinemark USA

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