Regal Cinemas goes dark ahead of Walmart expansion in Falmouth
FALMOUTH — The 10-screen Regal Cinemas has closed and will be torn down, paving the way for an expanded Walmart store.
Ben Devine, owner of the Falmouth Plaza at 206 Route 1, said Regal closed at the end of March. He said he negotiated an agreement with Regal to terminate the theater's lease, which will allow the neighboring Walmart to begin construction as early as this summer.
Walmart plans to expand its existing 92,000-square-foot store to a 124,000-square-foot Supercenter, which includes a full grocery store, pharmacy and large garden section.
The renovation requires the demolition of the cinema building.
While Devine said he hopes to see the project move forward by early summer, Wal-Mart corporate spokesman Bill Wertz said he does not have a schedule for the start of construction.
Wertz said the company is waiting for a state Department of Transportation permit and is finalizing design details for the outside of the building with town officials.
"We're going to significantly improve the appearance of the store," he said.
Senior Town Planner Ethan Croce said Walmart received conditional approval last November, and he is now working with company officials to clear up a few relatively minor changes before the plan receives its final sign-off.
Those changes include removal of some internal and pedestrian crossing signs to reduce sign clutter, removal of some lighting, changes to a decorative fence and the addition of a canopy over the garden center, Croce said.
After the retailer receives any outstanding state permits, officials will submit a building permit to the Codes Department and go through that application process, Croce said.
"They're pretty much good to go," he said.
Wertz said the store will remain open during the renovation.
Devine said he has talked to the theater company about moving somewhere else in town, but does not expect Regal to reopen in Falmouth. He said he thought a new movie theater in Freeport impacted Regal's business.
"They've said to me they can serve their customers at other locations," he said.
Regal Entertainment Group operates 523 theaters in 37 states, according to its website. Regal has cinemas in Brunswick and Augusta. The company acquired the former Hoyts Cinemas in Falmouth in 2003.
Calls to company officials for comments about the Falmouth closing were not returned.