Developer Dave Paynter plans new Regal Cinema movie theater as phase one of his plan to redevelop Sequoia Mall
By John Lindt
Sierra2theSea News Service
VISALIA – The demise of Sears may be just the thing to project a vibrant new vision of the Sequoia Mall.
Property owner and developer Dave Paynter has filed phase one of his long-awaited plan to redevelop the aging and mostly vacant mall. The plan includes a new Regal Cinema movie theater as well as three new buildings on the 24-acre site.
The 50,686-square foot movie complex would be built first, prior to the demolition of the existing Regal theater, ensuring movie-goers never miss a show at the Sequoia Mall. Paynter said the new theater will “have the latest technology that Regal has to offer” although further details are not yet available. The theater currently has 12 screens.
Once the new cineplex is built behind the existing movie theater, Regal will outfit it with interior improvements and electronics. Paynter said the new mall will be more open air than it is now. The cineplex will be welcome in a town where the last movie theater was built in Visalia over 20 years ago.
Paynter has owned the mall property, built in 1974, since 2013 knowing that its future would depend on a remake of the layout and tenant mix of a retail property with lots of vacancy but not controlling a key anchor property in Sears. Paynter fixed that problem by buying the Sears real estate last winter just as Sears was moving toward closure of its retail business here. Transformco, which purchased Sears and Kmart stores in February 2019, officially announced on Nov. 7 that the Visalia Sears, as well as 51 other locations and 45 Kmarts, would close by February 2020.
The Sears spot is likely to get a new anchor store, Paynter said, another key piece of the puzzle for a property that still has plenty of potential on the busiest traffic corner in Tulare County.
Regal is the second largest movie chain in the US. They are a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group, based in the UK. Regal has 7,211 screens in 549 theaters in 42 states as of Oct. 28, 2019 according to their website.