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DENVER-It didn’t come as a big surprise. Two years after opening with great fanfare as another art-film movie theater, New York City-based Madstone closed its lone Denver theater at Tamarac Square, an unanchored center on Hampden Avenue, just east of Interstate 25.

“I regret to inform you that our theater is now closed,” according to the voice on the answering machine, when GlobeSt.com called the theater. “We have shut down for business. But I do want to express our thanks to all of those who offered their support and (were) generous for their attendance over the last two years since we opened.”

Erin Owens, spokeswoman for the New York City-based chain, tells GlobeSt.com the Denver theater performed relatively well, but the closing is part of a national move by Madstone to close all of its theaters. In addition to Denver it closed theaters in Albuquerque, NM; Baltimore; Cary, NC; San Diego, Salt Lake City and Tampa. Last week, it also closed theaters in Ann Arbor, MI; Atlanta and Chandler, AZ.

“In Cary and in San Diego, the theaters are going to go black but are going to re-open under different management,” she tells GlobeSt.com. “As far as the Denver theater, we have no plans at this time to re-open. Overall, the chain was not meeting our expectations and we were not meeting our business plan. Denver was not our best performing theater.”

The theater, with six screens and 1,200 seats, covers more than 22,000 sf, making it the largest anchor in Tamarac, which is owned by Developers Diversified Realty. Owens says “fierce competition for first-run titles in the industry,” caused the small chain to close. “That’s true in Denver and it’s true across the country,” she says.

She says when the company first opened the theater in Denver, it was primarily an art film theater. But then it evolved into going after some huge productions, which were “sophisticated and intelligent, kind of like Chicago, which was from Miramax and had a big budget and big stars.”

Riki Hashimoto, a retail broker with Grubb & Ellis, tells GlobeSt.com that it is no surprise the Madstone theater closed. “These second-run-type of movie theaters, and movie theaters in general that are not part of the large, national chains have a real tough time competing with the large chains,” Hashimoto tells GlobeSt.com.

But he says it is extremely difficult to find a tenant for a former movie theater because they are so expensive to renovate for another use.He notes that it took him three years to find a tenant for one empty theater in northern Colorado.

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