Mall theater adding screens

By Glen Seeber: CNJ staff writer

Black plastic covered the fronts of two businesses in North Plains Mall Monday — L.A. Subs and C.N. Express — leaving employees and shoppers no option but to seek food elsewhere.

The closings are temporary, according to Cindy Banister, property manager for North Plains Mall.

But not so temporary will be the addition of three new screens to the mall’s movie theater — although customers will have to wait until fall to see those movies.

“L.A. Subs and C.N. Express are relocating in the Sears hallway,” Banister said. “We’re going to have a larger food court, and a wider range of sandwiches.”

While construction is taking place on the new locations, L.A. Subs will temporarily occupy the former Taco Box location, between Zales and EB Games. A sign in front of the business on Monday stated that its temporary location will open Wednesday.

Banister said a limited offering of cold sandwiches will be available while L.A. Subs is in the former Taco Box.
“It will take about two months, May and June,” she said. “We’ll still be able to eat at the mall.”

C.N. Express will remain closed until completion of the remodeling effort.

North Plains Mall lost its third food vendor in late December when Taco Box closed its location there. Banister said no one is currently scheduled to take the space vacated by Taco Box, although “the corporate office has quite a few deals they’re working on.”

In the meantime, work is expected to begin in the near future on adding the three screens to the North Plains 4 movie theater, operated by Allen Theaters of Farmington.

“Plans are on the table on what to build and how big they’ll be,” she said.

The Allen Theaters Web site has announced, “The construction will include a larger lobby with an upgraded concession stand along with three additional screens! Completion date scheduled for November 2004.”

Abby Parrish, theater manager, said Monday he is looking forward to the expansion. The three screens will be added at the rear of the theater, on the east side, and will add 400 to 500 seats to the whole operation.

“The lobby will move out 25 feet” toward the west, to accommodate the crowds and the improved concession stand, “and the restrooms will be expanded,” Parrish said.
Although he does not anticipate any lengthy period of closing while the construction is taking place, Parrish said there may be a rare day or two when closing will be necessary.

“This has been in process for a couple of years,” he said. “I imagine we’ll get started sometime in June.”

The architects and other planners will need to complete their work, then the expansion will have to move through normal city channels for building permits and other approvals, he said.

“We hope to be open by the holiday season.”
The expansion will be a joint effort by Allen Theaters and North Plains Mall, he said.

Rankin Construction of Colorado, which recently completed Allen Theater projects in Gallup and Hobbs, will oversee construction in Clovis, Parrish said.