Tower Theatres, the Tucson area's lone independently owned cineplex, will close Thursday, capping years of financial woes that included filing bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure in 2010.
Phoenix-based Harkins Theaters will take over the 12-screen theater in May, said Tower's managing partner, Kent Edwards. He and his business partners, Dan and Linda Cutler, also own a pair of Grand Cinemas in Tucson that show second-run movies. Those theaters were not part of the bankruptcy and they will continue operating them, he said.
Edwards said the landlord, Larsen Baker, notified him last week that his lease was being terminated and that Harkins would take over the theater at 5755 W. Arizona Pavilions Drive, off Interstate 10 and Cortaro Road in Marana.
"We understand," Edwards said, noting that he has paid discounted rent for three years as part of the bankruptcy. "It's a business decision. They have been very patient and good landlords over the years.
"We overcame a lot of obstacles and we thought we were going to get through it. We had a sense of optimism."
Don Larsen of the property-management firm could not be reached to comment on Monday. Harkins theater officials also did not return repeated calls seeking comment.
Tower's closing comes "five years, three months and 21 days" after it screened its first movie, "The Golden Compass," in December 2007. It opened 750 movies in all; its last new release was "The Croods," which opened two weeks ago.
"We have a lot of reasons to be proud of what we did, but at the same time we should have been here forever," Edwards said. "Unfortunately, some things happened. We tried to build a theater that will stand the test of time, and I think we did. Harkins will be the beneficiary of that."
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642.