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Ozark cinema targets October opening

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Liberty-based B&B Theatres Operating Co. Inc. is constructing a 10-screen movie house with more than 8,000 square feet of connected retail space at 620 N. 25th St. in Ozark.

The theater is expected to open by Oct. 31.

Dennis McIntire, director of strategic planning for B&B, said the Ozark cinema would have stadium seating, digital projectors and five viewing rooms set up to run 3-D films. He said the roughly 30,000-square-foot theater would have roughly 8,400 square feet of connected space available for lease. He said the retail space would be divided based on need.

B&B Theatres had been considering the Ozark market since 2006. McIntire said as the economy began to sour, plans were put on hold when adequate financing for the project was not secured.

In the last year, McIntyre said the city of Ozark and an unnamed landowner approached the company again, and this time, it was able to move forward.

McIntire said the land was purchased for an undisclosed amount, but he confirmed that construction cost estimates for the more than 38,000-square-foot theater and retail space were $2.5 million. Previous estimates provided to Springfield Business Journal put the total project cost around $7 million with a Memorial Day opening. McIntyre had met with Ozark Chamber of Commerce officials in August.

“A lot of times, people don’t realize all the work that goes into these projects,” McIntyre said. “But we are very excited to be coming to Ozark.”

The theater will be No. 17 for B&B Theatres in Missouri and its 30th across Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.

In southwest Missouri, the company operates the Ritz 8 in Lebanon, Bolivar Cinema 5 in Bolivar and the Monett Plaza 8 in Monett.

According to its www.bbtheatres.com, the business dates back to 1924 when Elmer Bills bought the Lyric Theater in Salisbury, Mo. In 1936, concession clerk Sterling Bagby started his own movie company. The two businesses merged to form B&B Theatres in 1980.

B&B had originally planned to work to construct an eight-screen theater with Michigan-based Plazacorp Realty in downtown Ozark.

But when Plazacorp and the city were unable to agree on financing and incentives, B&B looked for a new location on its own, ultimately landing on five acres in the 20-acre Phase I of Town & Country, just west of the U.S. Highway 65 and Missouri Highway 14.

The Ozark theater project is financed by Guaranty Bank, and the building and retail space is designed by Liberty-based J. Price Architecture Inc. Larry Snyder & Co. is general contractor. Wilson Surveying Co. Inc. is the civil engineering company on the project while Little Rock, Ark.-based Engineering Consultants Inc. is the structural engineer. Kansas City, Kan.-based Engineer’s Consortium Inc. is providing mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering.

McIntire said B&B has land available to add on two additional theater rooms.[[In-content Ad]]

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