Plans Scrapped For Second Theater

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The old Wal-Mart building is out of the picture as far as future cinema showcases go, slashing the number of movie screens scheduled for Payson from 10 to six.

George Harrison, owner of C & H Properties in Scottsdale, still plans to transform the 75,000- square-foot building into a mini-shopping center, but it will not be anchored by a four-screen movie theater, he said Tuesday morning.

"Not with the other one going in," he said. "When I actually saw what was being built (at Sawmill Crossing, where a six-screen movie theater is now under construction), I thought, 'You know what? I don't mind a good fight, but I'm not stupid. There's just no way Payson can support 10 screens.'

"I think we have four tenants" lined up to occupy parts of the shopping center, Harrison said, but the "ink is dry" only on one contract a lease agreement with the Payson Athletic Club for a 10,000-square-foot unit.

"I'll know more today (Tuesday)," he said. "I'm coming up to sign some other tenants. The way we have it set up with our architect, everything can change pretty easily. You can have a suite of 3,000 square feet all the way up to as big as you want to go.

"We should have all our permits tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday; at least, that's what I've been told by my architects. And we're starting construction as soon as I get the permits."

Previously, Harrison said that he hoped to attract a furniture store, and that a Meineke Muffler franchiser also was looking at space in the new mall.

Harrison's theater was to open on the heels of a six-screen cineplex now under construction as part of the new Sawmill Crossing shopping center at Main Street and the Beeline Highway. Those theaters are set to open Nov. 3.

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