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ShowBiz Cinemas gets $4.8 million Edmond incentive

EDMOND — Construction and opening of a Showbiz Cinemas, a family entertainment center, is projected to have a $4.94 million annual economic impact on Edmond.

The $23 million center, to be located on 11.04 acres at the northwest corner of Covell Road and Interstate 35, will have a 12-screen theater, 18 bowling lanes, an arcade, restaurants and upscale bar.

It will be constructed near the new $37 million Hilton Garden Inn and conference center, a private/public partnership, now being built.

"The numbers generated for this (economic impact) report are based solely on employment and annual payroll, as well as facility size for the construction portion of the report," said Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director, who calculated the ShowBiz report. "Potential sales tax collected from movie ticket sales, bowling rentals, etc. is not included."

Yowell estimates that the construction of the entertainment center will generate 187 jobs with an estimated $10.53 million for personal income.

Economic output from the construction could top $28 million.

The center's theaters with oversize leather seating and 70-foot curved screens are projected to bring in $12 million in sales tax money the first year.

It is projected to create 159 jobs with over $2 million in personal income.

City council members this week approved a $4.8 million economic incentive agreement with ShowBiz Cinemas and developers Covell-35 Development LLC.

They also agreed to spend $268,905 upfront for infrastructure improvements at the northwest corner of the intersection.

The $4.8 million will be paid in annual increments on an amount equal to 2 cents of the city's sales tax generated directly from the movie and entertainment complex operations during the previous year, said Assistant City Manager Steve Commons.

There is a 20-year deadline on any money exchanging hands. Commons estimated the pay off could be complete in 15 or 16 years.

Council members voted unanimously in favor of the measure.

Before the vote, Bill Freeman, an Edmond resident, wanted to know whether the city is willing to help other entertainment ventures in Edmond.

Mayor Charles Lamb said any economic assistance starts with an evaluation process with the Edmond Economic Development Authority.

Kevin Mitchell, president and CEO of ShowBiz Cinemas, said he wants to get started as soon as possible.

"We are super excited," Mitchell said. "We are working with the lenders. We have a couple of options there. We are ready to move."

Mitchell hopes to have the entertainment center open by Christmas.

John Wooley, project manager for Covell-35 Development Group, said site work would start this week. "We are ready to pull the triggers. We are ready to start the race."

"I think it is great deal," said Todd McKinnis, the developers attorney who lives in Edmond. "No doubt it's going to bring sales tax dollars into Edmond."

Mitchell said his company has been looking at the Edmond market for some time and plan to continue looking in the metro area for another location.

Mitchell said the Edmond family entertainment center will be a "true destination place."

"This is the largest thing in entertainment since Little League sports," Wooley said. "There is nothing like it. We are so excited."

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›