July 16, 2008

Entertainment Complex Slated for City’s East Side

By Lynne P. Shackleford, Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, S.C.

Jul. 16--A new family entertainment center complete with a state-of-the-art theater, a miniature golf course and bowling lanes will anchor the new Easton MarketPlace on the former Lan-Yair property off East Main Street.

Bruce Frank, president of Frank Theatres, said the complex that combines cinemas with other entertainment options will open in the next 14 months, with a groundbreaking ceremony expected in the next three to four months.

Frank's concept, SuperPLAY USA, also will offer batting cages, laser tag, a game room and food. The center will have 12 movie screens with a total of 2,500 seats.

Frank said the theater will have floor-to-ceiling screens and wall-to-wall premium stadium seating, with seating also available on the second floor of the theater for those over 21 to enjoy a cocktail and food while watching a movie.

This will be the first combined theater and SuperPLAY USA complex built in South Carolina, although Frank Theatres has cinemas in Conway and is working with a Myrtle Beach developer to build a SuperPLAY USA center there.

"The lifestyle center concept appeals to us and fits in well with what we bring, family entertainment, world-class food and cinemas," Frank said.

Centennial American Properties is the primary developer for Easton MarketPlace, the $100 million development project with 500,000 square feet of commercial space, and Johnson Development is overseeing construction and management of 12 three-story luxury apartment buildings on the site. Plans are still in place for high-end and local retailers, and the development will have a "Main Street" or boulevard atmosphere with lush landscaping and pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly amenities. The SuperPLAY USA and theater complex is planned for the rear of the site.

Pete Brett, director of development for Centennial, said the cinema and entertainment center concept is a big draw for retailers, restaurants and those interested in living at Easton.

"It's a new concept that Frank has been successful with and they're breaking into the Carolinas now. We couldn't be more excited," Brett said.

Centennial announced in May that Atlanta-based Cousins Properties was no longer part of the development but that Centennial planned to push forward, despite tough market conditions.

Mayor Bill Barnet said the latest announcement was exciting as the pieces start to fall into place for Easton's development.

"Given the financial dislocation of the market and challenges that retail companies are facing, I think it's great for our community and the eastern side of Spartanburg," Barnet said. "It's good news for the city and the entire area that we ultimately serve."


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