By Mike Pare
Deputy Business Editor
Carmike Cinemas plans to open a 12-screen theater in Dalton, Ga., outside of Walnut Square Mall.
The 42,500-square-foot moviehouse will replace the company's existing nine-screen theater inside the mall, said Dale Hurst, Carmike's marketing director.
Work is to begin late this year or early next and the theater is to open in the spring 2009, Mr. Hurst said. He said the company wouldn't reveal the project cost.
The stadium-seating theater will be on an outparcel behind the Walnut Avenue mall, Mr. Hurst said.
"It's a big open field," he said.
David Neuhoff, development manager of mall owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc. of Chattanooga, said the shift "allows Carmike to give Walnut Square's moviegoers the best possible cinematic experience."
But he said the site across the parking lot is close enough to allow them to shop the mall's lineup of specialty stores.
The new theater will have 2,000 high-back chairs with retractable armrests equipped with cup-holders as well as wall-to-wall screens, according to officials.
The box office will be inside the lobby so patrons will not be forced to stand outside during inclement weather, officials said.
Also, the theater will feature the latest in movie-viewing technology with digital picture and sound, according to Carmike.
Mr. Neuhoff said the in-mall cinema space will be converted to more retail stores.
The 450,000-square-foot Walnut Square Mall is anchored by Belk, Belk Home and Kids, Sears, JCPenney and Goody's.
Mr. Hurst, who at one time was the manager at the Dalton moviehouse, said area residents won't have to travel outside the city to experience this type of theater once it opens.
He said the original theater opened in 1981 as a triple-screen cinema. It was expanded in 1991, Mr. Hurst said.
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