For the first time since 2003, area residents will have access to two local movie theaters. We refer, of course, to Thursday night’s opening of the new Bradley Square 12, a state-of-the-art complex brought to Cleveland compliments of Carmike Cinemas Inc.
As most will remember, Carmike hasn’t had a footprint here in nine years since its closure of a tinier four-screen theater at the corner of Stuart Road and North Keith Street on a site now housing a CVS Pharmacy.
The Bradley Square 12 joins UEC Theaters as an entertainment hot spot for area residents. UEC, which came to Cleveland previously as Premier Theaters, is located on the busy Interstate 75 Exit 20 junction whose commercial growth has the potential for explosion over the next few years with ramp, bridge and road improvements that have been tossed about for years and which now seem closer to fruition.
Competition creates greater challenge for businesses, yet choice is good for all — especially the consumer whose hard-earned dollars linger in the balance. But we firmly believe — whether movie viewers are coming for the experience of a brief getaway, the fantasy world of the big screen or the buttered popcorn, candy and Coke — that Cleveland can, and hopefully will, support two mega-complexes.
Let none argue. The UEC is a quality entertainment center, one that rivals any such movie theater in this region. We include those in Chattanooga in our comparison, as well as other communities in Southeast Tennessee and beyond.
But with growth — and Cleveland’s explosion over the past few years is unparalleled — comes more choice. Locally, we have witnessed such appreciated expansion in industry, eateries and education. Now it comes to our doorstep in entertainment.
As excited as we are to have a second high-tech theater complex, we are equally happy for Bradley Square Mall. This retail center on Huff Parkway has endured much over the years. Surely, the world of retail is a roller-coaster ride, one whose peaks and valleys are sometimes blurred in comparison during periods of great recession. This has been the American plight for the past five years, yet establishments like Bradley Square Mall have persevered.
It is our hope bringing a new 12-screen theater, with a seating capacity of some 2,300 in luxurious settings, will bring more shoppers, as well as their plastic, checkbooks or cash, to the mall.
Obviously, bringing new business to town means offering the latest in amenities and high-tech experience. The Bradley Square 12 will offer state-of-the-art stadium seating with comfortable high back luxury chairs, retractable armrests and convenient cup holders. It will offer an upscale lobby, multiple concession areas and an indoor box office.
But to today’s moviegoers, these are standard. The real goodies are the “techy” stuff. The new entertainment center is bringing a “BIGD” auditorium that includes a wall-to-wall screen measuring 60 feet wide and nearly three stories tall, the latest in surround sound and digital projection of both 2-D and 3-D features powered by cutting edge projection and picture quality.
We could mention many other high-tech details and mega-surprises provided by the theater’s marketing professionals. But frankly, we don’t understand some of the terms. For the sake of science, let’s just say we’re impressed.
Here’s the bottom line. Cleveland’s continued growth brings with it opportunity. Entertainment is one such key option.
For those wishing to check out the Bradley Square 12, the festivities kick off tonight with a VIP event. Public shows start Thursday with a $1 special on movies, drinks and popcorn, and the proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House. And at midnight Thursday, the new theater premiers its first blockbuster — “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
We welcome the Bradley Square 12.
For any who doubt Cleveland’s ability to support two mega-theaters, let us offer this query: Who would have ever thought we could keep two Walmart SuperCenters open?
With growth comes choice.