PLANO, TX-Interstate Theatres has embarked on a campaign to find new locations nationwide, focusing on a strategy of renovating outmoded theaters, and has hired CB Richard Ellis Retail Services to identify locations.Richard Rizika, SVP of CB Richard Ellis Retail Services in Torrance, CA, describes the effort by Interstate as a strategy that will also provide landlords with an opportunity to fill empty former theaters with tenants. Rizika and Greg Hinds of his office are spearheading the theater-location effort and are part of a CB Richard Ellis team, headed by Rizika, that includes nine retail real estate specialists in the group, each focused on either landlord or retailer representation.Interstate, which says it is “aggressively searching for new locations nationwide,” specializes in exhibiting recently released movies at discounted prices. The company operates 25 multiplex theater locations throughout California, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Indiana, Florida, Nebraska, Ohio and Arkansas. In 2003, Interstate opened three multiplex locations in California and one in New Jersey. Its locations typically range from 10,000 sf to 85,000 sf and include four to 16 screens per location. The company’s expansion plan is to either lease or purchase former theater locations or existing under-performing theaters. The cost of building out a former theater usually ranges from $250,000 to $500,000.The Interstate Theatres’ push comes several years after many theater chains over-extended themselves building stadium-style seating theaters, which drove many of the chains into bankruptcy. The chains closed many of their non-stadium-seating theaters, leaving landlords with no tenants for the space. Some landlords have converted former theaters to other uses, but many remain vacant. Interstate’s plan to convert theaters provides what Rizika describes as “solutions for difficult to lease former theater locations.

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