Shaquille O’Neal (sort’ve) brings a high-end movie theather to the Downtown Miami area…


(by Hannah Sampson/Miami Herald) – The latest attraction coming to downtown Miami: a 12-screen movie theater. In a move that signals confidence in Miami’s economic recovery — and potential for growth in the city’s urban core — the developer of the downtown Metropolitan Miami complex (who Shaquille O’Neal and his O’Neal Group are partners with) announced plans to add a high-end movie theater.

Plans call for the new theater at the Metropolitan Miami complex to open by late 2012 or early 2013. It will join a Whole Foods, set for completion in 2013, and the already-open Met 1 residential tower, Wells Fargo Center office tower and JW Marriott Marquis and Hotel Beaux Arts.

Adding a multiplex is the latest step in making the area a place where people want to live, work and play. That’s a dramatic change of scenery from 10 years ago, when fewer than 40,000 people lived downtown and there was a dearth of options compared to other cities with cosmopolitan credentials. MDM Development Group said Tuesday that it had finalized an agreement with luxury theater company Silverspot to open a 55,000-square-foot, 12-screen theater as the anchor for the planned Met Square entertainment complex. It will also include retail and restaurant space.

“This is a total game-changer for the market,” said Lyle Stern, principal with Koniver Stern Group, the retail leasing representative of Metropolitan Miami. “It’s real urban living.”

For a night out at the movies, downtown residents have to drive to South Beach, Coconut Grove or South Miami.

Those are attorney Eric Bluestein’s options — though he finds himself watching movies at home more often than venturing out to a theater these days.

“I like movies a lot,” said Bluestein, 28, who lives in the Met 1 building. “Once they put a theater next to me, I’ll definitely be going quite a bit.”

MDM did not disclose projected development costs for the theater at the $1 billion Metropolitan Miami complex.

James Marsh, a media and entertainment analyst for Piper Jaffray, said chains worldwide have been experimenting with offering high-end moviegoing experiences. He said the concept hasn’t yet been proven, but it could be a smarter move than trying to compete with nearby megaplexes.

Source: Miami Herald

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