Century Park 16, the movie theater on the east side of Interstate 10 on West Grant Road, is closing at the beginning of the year.

A group of investors under the name Grant Century LLC recently bought the 74,000-square-foot, 16-screen multiplex for about $2.77 million, according to an affidavit filed in the Pima County Recorder's Office.

The property's future use isn't yet clear, said Michael Wattis, a managing member of Grant Century LLC.

He did confirm that it no longer would operate as a theater after the holidays.

"We've got a lot of options," Wattis said. "The existing facility lends itself to a lot of uses."

The property, at 1055 W. Grant Road, was owned by Cinemark, the Plano, Texas-based chain that acquired Century Theatres Inc. about four years ago.

The company has four other theaters in the Tucson area, Cinemark spokesman James Meredith said. Meredith declined to say whether Cinemark's decision to sell the theater had anything to do with its financial performance.

About 20 people work at the theater, and they've been told of the closure, Meredith said. The employees' jobs will be absorbed into the other locations, he said.

The closure is likely to take place during the first week of January.

The property is zoned for light industrial use, said Buzz Isaacson, a broker with CB Richard Ellis who is listing the property for the investors. That leaves it open to a variety of occupant types, including medical, office or educational. It could include some retail space, though that will not likely be its primary use, Isaacson said.

A new tenant would likely retrofit the existing structures to accommodate its business. "Our prediction is that we will attract a user that will use all or part of the theaters," Isaacson said.

The property's location adjacent to I-10 and its access to downtown and the University of Arizona were factors that led the investors to make the purchase, Isaacson said.

The site also has plenty of parking, considering that it's an urban infill property. "It's really hard to find big blocks of space that have abundant parking," Isaacson said.

Did you know

The Syufy movie theater company opened the 3,600-seat Century Park complex in October 1989 on the site of its former Tucson 5 Drive-In.

It quickly became the top-grossing theater in Tucson.

It also built a reputation through the 1990s as a hot spot for car theft; not only were moviegoers away from their cars for a couple of hours at a time, but the thieves could quickly get from the parking lot onto Interstate 10 and drive away.

Source: Star archives

Contact reporter Dale Quinn at dquinn@azstarnet.com or 573-4197.