Theater closed as lease wasn’t renewed

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bainbridge Mall Cinemas shut down last Sunday and the owners were moving all the equipment and furnishings out Wednesday.

“Our lease ended, and the landlords decided not to renew it,” said Bill Homer of Jacksonville, Fla., and the owner of StarNet Cinemas. “It’s sad to go, but you got to do what’s right by you.”

Homer said eight people were employed at the theaters who are now without jobs.

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The cinemas had been under a 10-year lease, and it was at the end of its lease, Homer said.

His company had sold the Bainbridge cinemas operations and two others to Dickinson Theatres about six years ago, and then took back over the local theater about three years ago from Dickinson.

When StarNet Cinemas took back over operation of the six-theater movie house, Homer said the cinemas had come under disrepair. Also, he said sales were down, and they tried to make upgrades, but the economy and the changing environment of families ordering movies at their homes may have added to the decline in sales.

“It’s hard for people to go to the movies now,” Homer said.

U-Haul trucks were parked in front of the cinemas Wednesday as a sign had been posted that the lease was up.

A call to officials with Bainbridge Mall were not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.

Approximately 200 seats from the theaters were sold to Lincoln Mills of Huntsville, Ala., a renovated textile mill being converted into a mixed-use complex.