Makeover for central cinema

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012

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Centre Place and Hoyts Cinemas are pouring more than $7 million into an upgrade of the shopping precinct's vacant theatre complex so blockbuster mainstream movies can return to central Hamilton next year.

Event Cinema pulled out of the multiplex venue early this year. In what Centre Place owner Kiwi Income Property Trust is calling "a huge vote of confidence" in Hamilton, Hoyts has signed a 15-year lease on the seven- screen complex. The Kiwi trust will spend $7.1 million modernising the complex and Hoyts said it was also making a significant investment but would not say how much.

The cinemas will open in the fourth quarter of next year with a minimum of five screens, digital and 3D technology, new concession and ticketing areas and improved entry, trust general manager of development Mark Luker said.

Hoyts chief operating officer Brian Eldridge said from Sydney that 50 jobs, mostly part-time, would be created.

He said Hoyts, a private Australian company, had been drawn to the central city by the opportunity Event's exit presented, by the city's "very strong" cinema market and Hoyts very successful experience at Te Awa The Base where it opened New Zealand's first wholly digital cinema complex.

Mr Luker said entertainment was an essential ingredient for the central city and the entry of Hoyts would mean Centre Place could offer a complete night out with wining, dining and entertainment.

Centre Place's current $39.9m redevelopment has introduced an outdoor dining lane on Bryce St and an improved food court. Current works will deliver a new Farmers department store, put Centre Place and the former Downtown Plaza under one roof, and attract new retailers, bringing the shopping offer to 110 specialist stores.

The Centre Place cinema complex also houses the art house and festival movie Lido theatres.

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- Waikato Times

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