BCMA hears theatre plans

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2007

Developer Robert Bishop said commercial development in Greenville will only increase with the arrival of an eight-screen movie theatre and entertainment complex on I-65. Bishop, along with theatre president Marty Felts, spoke to members of the Butler County Manufacturers Association during its first meeting of the year on Thursday night.

Bishop, who is working with the city and investors like Felts to develop the property located beside the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, said retail commerce would remain the &#8220meat and potatoes” along I-65 and the impending arrival of a movie theatre has only hastened interest in Greenville.

&#8220When we first started working on that property I didn't think a movie theatre was essential to the growth of Greenville,” said Bishop. &#8220But now I know I was wrong. That theatre will mean a lot to this town.”

As a parent, Bishop said he couldn't sleep until he knew his children were at home, especially on weekend nights, which - in Greenville - has meant trips to movie theatres in Montgomery for entertainment.

&#8220If you can keep your children at home and people from spending $20 in gas to Montgomery, it's worth it,” said Bishop.

The property has already attracted a Holiday Inn Express and barbecue restaurant and Bishop said there were several other projects in the working that he wasn't at liberty to discuss. He said a 146-unit apartment complex locating on the development should serve as a transitional housing for families moving into the area looking either to purchase new homes or build their own.

He apologized for &#8220getting red dirt on everyone,” jokingly referencing the numerous times the land has been cleared on the property.

Felts said construction is on schedule with a commitment from the contractor to have the theatre open by mid-July at the latest. Felts said his company would take an active role in the community - he plans to movie his family here - and NAOS will offer scholarship programs for students in Butler County.

The city is also negotiating with the producers of &#8220Honeydripper,” the movie filmed in Butler County during the fall, to host a premier at the new theatre when it is released later this year.

&#8220Having a premier at our theatre would be a very big deal for us,” said Felts.