Regal Union Square To Reopen After Cinema Company Strikes Deal With Landlord

The cinema had announced its closure in January after parent company Cineworld went belly up and filed for bankruptcy last fall. Now, after being granted favorable lease terms with landlord Related Companies, moviegoers can gear up to return to a theatre that originally opened in 1998.

| 19 Jun 2023 | 05:14

Regal Union Square, the centerpiece tenant of 1 Union Square South, is back. This is a sudden change of fortunes for parent company Cineworld, who announced in January that it would be closing 39 locations including the now-returning theatre after filing for bankruptcy last fall. It appears that Related Companies, the corporate real estate behemoth headed by Stephen Ross, has provided Cineworld–and its as-of-late beleaguered CEO Mooky Greidinger–with a lifeline that will allow the cinema to continue operating.

No specific details such as price per sq. ft or length of the lease were revealed. CoStar, a real estate data firm, estimated the rent on retail space at 1 Union Square South as costing up to $114 per square foot.

“In cooperation with our partners at Related, we are excited to enter into a long-term lease agreement for this premiere entertainment destination providing moviegoers from the area the best place to watch a movie for many years to come,” proclaimed Greidinger in a statement about the reopening.

Chad Jones, Senior VP of Related Companies, added that he believed “the best-in-class cinema experience will continue to bring the magic of the movies to thousands of Manhattan residents as well as visitors from around the world.”

Regal Union Square boasts a slew of flashy and high concept additions meant to attract members of the public to the movie theatre, an increasingly tough ask in the streaming era. These include the “Pepsi 4DX auditorium”, which is advertised as having the regular viewing experience “enhanced through special effects including motion-synchronized seats, wind, fog, rain, lightning, snow, bubbles, vibration and scents.” There is also the “ScreenX auditorium”, which features screens not just in front of the viewer, but for 270 degrees around them. The seats also include “ButtKicker technology”, a haptic system intended to provide physical sensations to ticket-holders.

CineWorld is the world’s second-largest cinema chain.Variety reported that Greidinger received a six-month suspended jail term in Israel (he is an Israeli citizen) in December of 2022 for violating competition laws. The company’s restructuring plan, approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas, asked for the company to raise $2.6 billion dollars. The return of Regal Union Square, which opened for the first time in 1998, seems to be tied to its hoped-for contribution to CineWorld’s future business prospects.