03/22/04 — Theater race appears to have ended

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Theater race appears to have ended

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 22, 2004 1:58 PM

The race to be the first company to build a multiplex theater in Goldsboro appears to be over.

Minnesota based United Entertainment Corp. received its foundation permit last week and has begun work.

A building permit hasn't yet been issued for the theater, which will be off the Martin Luther King Expressway near the Best Western Motel and Norwood Avenue.

Shallotte-based All Star Entertainment announced in December its intentions to build a 14-screen movie theater on the south side of Berkeley Boulevard between Central Heights Road and New Hope Road, behind Lowe's Home Improvement Store.

For the past two months, the two theater companies have been racing to get through various hoops to be the first to build.

At first, it appeared that All Star had the edge, because its subdivision plat was approved in January. Sue Fallin, property owner, also paid for a special City Council meeting two weeks ago so the site and landscape plans could be approved.

The plan was approved, but All Star, like United, had to pay almost $19,000 to the state's Ecosystem Enhancement Fund as an off-set payment for potential increases in nitrogen caused by the development.

In less than a week, United had its site and landscape plan approved, paid its $19,000 payment and was issued a foundation permit by the city's Inspection Department.

United did not have to go before the council to receive approval for its site plan, because the company is building in a general business zone, not a shopping center zone like All Star.

Assistant City Planning Director Jimmy Rowe said that he hasn't heard from All Star since the special meeting on Feb. 26. The $19,000 payment hasn't been received, he said. Ms. Fallin said last week that she hadn't heard from All Star, but believed the company was still planning to build the movie theater. United plans to build a 12-screen theater with stadium seating and digital sound. The theater is scheduled to open in November, in time for the Thanksgiving blockbusters. Group III Management, a general contractor from Kinston is the builder. United Entertainment Corp. owns a chain of video stores and movie theaters in the central and eastern United States. The company specializes in small and mid-size markets such as Goldsboro.