Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

January 8, 2014

2nd act for theater proposal

TRAVERSE CITY — A briefly delayed movie theater proposal at the Traverse City Outlets mall is back for a second showing.

Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn said the owners of the nearly half-vacant mall off U.S. 31 — TC Center Partners LLC — asked the township for a preliminary review of a proposed new 14-screen movie theater project at the outlet center. The new theater complex would replace the existing 10-screen Horizon Cinemas currently operated by Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas.

“Personally, I think it looks like a decent development,” Korn said. “This is step one of the process. I assume they are talking about filling it in with some kind of a lodging structure or more in the ways of restaurants and bars.”

Joseph Sarafa, a Williamsburg attorney serving as a representative for TC Center Partners, could not be reached for comment.

Doug Mansfield, president of Mansfield Land Use Consultants, is working on the project with TC Center Partners. Mansfield said the new theater would be “high-tech and high-end.”

“(The project would) demolish 85,000-square feet of existing retail and develop and construct a 60,000-square-foot, 14-theater complex, as well as an auxiliary building,” Mansfield said.

Mansfield said a lease with Carmike Cinemas is in place to operate the new theater if the development becomes a reality. A spokesman for Carmike declined comment, saying the permitting process for the project is not complete.

The idea of a new movie theater at the mall surfaced in November, when local developer Jerry Snowden asked the township for a conceptual review of a new 59,000-square-foot building at the site. Korn was told the project would encompass a movie theater. Korn later received a letter at his office from TC Center Partners, saying Snowden was not involved in the project, leading to the withdrawal of Snowden’s application.

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