George Harrison, owner of C & H Properties in Scottsdale, unveiled plans Thursday for the Rim Country Mall a project that will transform the old Wal-Mart building off Highway 260 into a mini-shopping center anchored by a four-screen movie theater.
"We've brought in a specialist to design the building, and we go before the town June 19 to get our conditional use permit," Harrison said. "Aside from that, plans are moving right along."
Fifty percent of the Rim Country Mall, he said, is already preleased. Payson Athletic Club has leased a 10,000-square-foot unit, Harrison said, and a gourmet coffee shop is ready to move into spaces around the atrium.
In addition, he said, he's trying to attract a furniture store, and a Meineke Muffler franchiser is looking into leasing space at the new mall.
But it's the theater that will be the mall's main attraction.
Harrison said he has an independent company signed to operate the theater, which will feature stadium seating, a state-of-the-art sound system and all of the high-tech amenities that are common among big city theaters.
Harrison's theater project is the second box office venture to take center stage in Payson this year.
Construction on the Sawmill Crossing shopping center, which will feature a six-screen theater, began on Main Street this spring.
The Sawmill theater, which is owned by Kaibab Industries, will have the same bells and whistles that Harrison plans to incorporate into his theater project.
Although Sawmill is scheduled to open before the Rim Country Mall, Harrison said he isn't overly concerned about the project.
"I'd rather (they weren't) there," he said, "but it is what it is competition."
The Rim Country Mall's construction schedule hasn't been established yet, Harrison said, because he must first obtain the proper building permits from Town Hall.