KENTWOOD — Phoenix Theatres LLC plans to invest $4 million to refurbish the Woodland Mall’s movie theater space formerly occupied by Celebration! Cinema.
The new tenant was announced today at a press conference held by officials from Woodland Mall owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT).
Phoenix Theatres has signed a long-term lease for the 47,000-square-foot space, which is planned to have reclining and heated seating with 4K digital projection, Dolby Atmos sound systems and first-run movies.
This will be Phoenix Theatres’ first West Michigan location. The 21-year-old, Farmington-based company has movie theaters in Livonia, Monroe and Wayne, as well as in Iowa and Massachusetts. The Woodland Mall location is expected to open in late 2021.
“We were fortunate to be considered for this opportunity at Woodland Mall and look forward to bringing our own unique amenities to the greater Grand Rapids community,” Phoenix Theatres Chief Operating Officer John Scanlan said in a statement. “Phoenix was originally formed with the idea of refurbishing closed theatres in viable retail areas and returning well-operated neighborhood theatres to their respective communities.”
Celebration! Cinema was a tenant at Woodland Mall for 13 years before announcing in May 2020 that it was not renewing its lease, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Woodland Mall shut down during the pandemic from March 23 to June 1, 2020.
Commercial real estate experts have said Woodland Mall has proven to be more resilient than others in the region, but PREIT did file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2020 as mall tenants across the company’s portfolio struggled to pay rent throughout the pandemic.
“We are delighted to partner with Phoenix Theatres to bring movies in an upgraded format back to one of our premier assets, Woodland Mall,” PREIT CEO Joe Coradino said in a statement. “Our $100 million investment in this property enabled us to bring first-to-market retail and dining options including Von Maur, Urban Outfitters and The Cheesecake Factory to West Michigan, and this addition highlights the continued strength of this property.”
Phoenix Theatres CEO Cory Jacobson says the company will be a good fit at the Kentwood mall.
“Phoenix Theatres has always been a neighborhood theatre company, and that’s something we’re very proud of,” Jacobson said in a statement. “We visited and were simply stunned by the vibrancy of the mall and the exceptional mix of high-end retail tenancy.
“After spending several weeks exploring the city, we felt very much at home in the culture of the community. Movie theatres are places where people come together to enjoy themselves. Creating an environment that celebrates community has always been our highest goal.”