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KANSAS CITY, MO—Entertainment real estate is making a comeback in the Midwest, as plans move forward in Ohio for more casinos and racetracks and a redevelopment plan for Navy Pier gains traction in Chicago. Meanwhile, locally based REIT Entertainment Properties Trust has signed about $150 million in build-to-suit deals and property acquisitions throughout the country as part of a portfolio expansion plan. Most of the properties are new movie theaters, and the deals are part of planned 2012 spending of up to $300 million.

Greg Silvers, vice president and COO with the trust, says the enhanced locations follow the newest trend in movie-watching. “The expanded menu, luxury seating and alcohol offerings attract the hard-to-get 35-and-older group,” he says. “Theaters as a whole are still a dominant sector. Our properties were up 22% last year in boxoffice revenues. People want to find ways to get out of the house and movies remain the cheapest option for entertainment.”

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