It's the final curtain for Channelside Cinemas. Tuesday night, the movie theater abruptly shut down, becoming the third business to close since the start of the month at Channelside. This also raises more questions about the future of the entertainment complex.
It was a stunner for sure. Everyone we spoke with said this is a huge loss for the area. And how alarmed they are, about what's happening to businesses down there.
There was a movie premiere there Tuesday night, then the theaters went dark, with their future uncertain. We're told owner and the landlord could not come to terms. The theater filed for bankruptcy last August.
For sisters Tiffany and Taylor Krueger, the cinemas were an easy stroll from Harbour Island to see a movie.
"Well, I guess we'll have to go to Westshore, but it's really far away," said Tiffany. "But our Dad lives really close to there, so I guess we'll be seeing a lot more movies with our father."
The signs posted on the box office told the story: "This Theater Is Closed, Sorry For The Inconvenience".
"There's no more IMAX anywhere close!," said Brian Cahill. "Really, there's no more IMAX!"
There's no more IMAX in Channelside and no more movies, at least for now.
"I've lived here my whole life, Channelside's always been the closest option for movies, and now that it's closing, I have nowhere else to go," Cahill said.
He admits Ybor City and Westshore are options for movie-going, but when you're young and just have your driver's permit, it's easier to walk.
On the west end of Channelside, Hooters remains a solid anchor. And on the other end, Splitsville also told us they're staying put. Splitsville's owners shut-down Stumps Supper Club, just across the way from their bowling venue. One of their managers told us they had a good run and took care of their employees. There was nothing sudden about its closing. Dueling piano bar "Howl At The Moon" also closed earlier this month.
"We're a little slow, just like the rest of Channelside," said John Enterline. "Ya' know, business hasn't been as it normally is."
Enterline was stunned to hear the theater had closed. The movie crowds are good for business at, "Taverna Opa!", where he works. Now, the restaurant is his only source of income.
"Started off the day getting laid off from my day job, which is marketing, out in St. Pete," said Enterline. "Really worried about the future of Channelside, because that's my future too!"
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik may take over the complex soon, but that deal has not been finalized yet. And not soon enough apparently, to keep the Channelside Cinemas open, even one day longer.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?