CARY - The days of Galaxy Cinema and several neighboring businesses are likely numbered. Some tenants of the Village Square Shopping Center have received move-out notices as the Harris Teeter company drafts plans to replace the theater and a neighboring office building.
“We’ve basically got a month left,” said Rich Grimes, who co-owns Shortie’s Out of Sight Café.
The Galaxy Cinema hasn’t received a move-out notice, according to executive Kirit Padia, but public records show that Harris Teeter’s plans to raze and rebuild a section of the mall grind on.
A new site plan by the grocery company illustrates the 53,000-square-foot store that would replace the six-screen theater. The plans also call for the demolition of the 56,000-square-foot office building that hosts Shortie’s and several other businesses; the plans won’t affect the rest of the center, including the row of shops neighboring the theater and the northern section of the mall.
If the process continues normally, the grocery plans could get the green light by the end of the year, Hales said; the proposal would not require Cary Town Council approval. The new store may replace the Harris Teeter location at the neighboring Cary Towne Center mall, but the grocery company has declined to comment on its plans.
The plans also call for the demolition of a 56,000 square-foot office building in the shopping center.
Until the final decision comes, it’s a waiting game for the office tenants and Galaxy Cinema, which is the last of several theaters since the 1970s to occupy the movie house at 770 Cary Towne Blvd.
“People do sometimes change their minds. ... Of course, we want to cooperate with the property owner as much as we can; if they decide to redevelop, we have to move on,” said Kirit Padia, an executive for Galaxy. “I’m not wishing them any bad, but I’d like to stay here as long as I could.”
York Properties, the owner of the shopping center, is still assessing the project, according to company chairman Smedes York.
“We are still working on putting the pieces in place, but have no further announcement at this time,” York said.Plan B
The Galaxy has plenty of local support – news of its potential eviction and demolition rallied about 1,000 supporters to an online “Save The Galaxy” group. The theater has since settled its rent dispute with its landlord, but Padia and his customers acknowledge that it likely won’t survive in its current form.
Instead, they’re throwing around ideas about how to “reboot” the place.
“The only option for the theater is to find another theater, or find a location where you can start with some basic things and slowly develop further,” Padia said. “We have lots of members, lots of supporters, and if we can do something, we really want to do it.”
Devoted customers have thrown around ideas - perhaps they could find space at Morrisville’s Carmike 16, they suggested - but the business has found no firm leads, Padia said.
In the meantime, a bigger theater is moving in on Galaxy’s business. Cary’s Regal Crossroads 20 is winning more exclusive contracts to play Bollywood movies such as the spy thriller Eik Tha Tiger, Padia said.
Theaters sign contracts for films weeks in advance, and film distributors take a share of the ticket sales, Padia said. With profits on the line, film distributors’ “big concern is whether or not we’ll be able to honor our obligation, and whether or not we’ll be open... by the time movie comes out,” Padia said. The theater will continue to meet and honor its business obligations and customer’s expectations.
Last week’s offerings ranged from Barfi! to The Master. And one of the theater’s best-known events, Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series, will on Thursday kick off its final season at the Galaxy with “Coast Modern: Modern Architecture of the Pacific States.”
Until a decision comes, the reels are rolling.
“I take pride in my staff,” Padia said. “We all are doing every possible thing that we can.”