Waterfront Plaza theater will shut down in August


POSTED: Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The lights will go out soon for the dollar movie theater at Waterfront Plaza after more than 15 years in business at the location.

The last discount movie—which can be seen for $1.25 admission per person during the weekdays—will be shown on Aug. 9.





        » Where: 500 Ala Moana Blvd.

» When: Aug. 9


» Size: 22,000 square feet


» Operator: Hollywood Theaters


» Landlord: Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc.


» Admission: $1.25-$1.50 per ticket


Scott Wallace, president of Hollywood Theaters, which operates the nine-screen discount theater, said he agreed to a deal with Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc., run by the Shidler Group, to exit his lease early.

“;The landlord made us an offer we couldn't refuse,”; said Wallace, echoing a line from “;The Godfather.”;

Wallace declined to disclose the amount of the deal, saying only that it was in the multimillion-dollar range. About 40 theater employees, mostly part time, were informed of the shutdown yesterday.

Pacific Office Properties entered into an agreement with Wallace in 2007 that gave the landlord the right to terminate the lease in exchange for a cash payment.

“;We don't take it lightly that our decision to terminate the lease is going to result in a business closing,”; said Executive Vice President Larry Taff. “;However, the term of our option agreement was going to expire shortly, and the opportunity to reposition the property would have been lost. We felt that it was in the long-term best interest of the property and its tenants to make this commitment now.”;

The economics of the 22,000-square-foot theater's lease were extremely unfavorable to the landlord and a drain on parking revenue.

Wallace's lease for the space at Waterfront Plaza, also popularly known as Restaurant Row, began in 1994, according to the trust, and was practically rent-free for up to 40 years, with free parking for all of its patrons.

Anyone who purchases a ticket gets 3 1/2 hours of validated parking at the plaza.

Hollywood Theaters was basically just paying its own operating expenses.

The Shidler Group acquired the leasehold Waterfront Plaza for $72 million in 2004, a few years before it formed Pacific Office Properties.

Without Oahu's theater at Restaurant Row, Hawaii is left with only one discount theater—Kress Cinemas in Hilo—which is also run by Hollywood Theaters.

Online reviews of the discount theater on yelp.com and yahoo! movies were mixed—some called it well maintained, with a decent sound system, while others said it was the best deal in town and yet others complained of smells and homeless people.

Wallace raised the admission price at the Restaurant Row theater in April to $1.25 from $1 all day Monday through Thursday and before 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of a “;loose-change strategy”; to get customers to spend more on snacks.

After 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the admission price is $1.50.

Hollywood Theaters still operates three first-run movie theaters on Maui and one on the Big Island, but in the last few years closed down all its smaller, two- and three-screen theaters on Oahu.