Movie theater construction nears completion

PLATTSBURGH The North Country will soon offer another place to escape from the troubles of the everyday world and enjoy the stars of the silver screen. Crews are working around the clock to complete the construction of Cumberland 12, a new 12-screen theater megaplex on State Route 9 in the town of Plattsburgh. The development has been in the works since first announced last November by Peter W. Edelmann, president of EuroWest Companies, Essex, Vt., and partner Yves E. Bradley, vice president of Pomerleau Real Estate in Burlington. The process has been a long one, said Edelmann, with minor setbacks along the way regarding financing and receiving approved grant disbursements from the state of New York. The financing setbacks were due to the state of the economy, he said, but have since been worked out and bringing the project back on track. I believe if we had started today, we would not have gotten the financing or the grant, said Edelmann. It would have been very difficult getting investors on board. The world has changed quite a bit in the past few months. Edelmann said the development is still awaiting disbursements from a $2.5 million Restore New York grant. Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett said he doesnt believe the hold-up is related to the state of the economy, but the bureaucratic process in general. We could see that money released at any time, said Bassett. After all, this is a poster-child project for Restore New York, using that money in an area that was an economic blight in the community, revitalizing it and creating jobs. Its a perfect match. Regardless of the state funding, Edelmann said work on the theater is continuing, with a targeted Dec. 12 opening. If its not Dec. 12, itll be off by at most a week, he said. The majority of the exterior work is completed, with a large clock as a centerpiece for the theaters facade. The interior is working toward completion, with finishing touches being made each day, he said. In the end, the megaplex will house a total of approximately 1,684 wider, stadium-style seats among the 12 individual theater rooms. Two of the smaller theaters could be used to show independent films, which would depend on how much of a following they develop, said Edelmann. Were even working toward hosting a film festival in Plattsburgh, said Edelmann. It would tie in with the one held in Lake Placid and the Burlington Film Festival. The megaplex will also consist of a large community room to host birthday parties and other special occasions. Spacious mens and womens restrooms, are also part of the plans for the facility, including a family restroom designed for use by families in need of more privacy when using the facilities. All the facets of the new development are what Edelmann feels will drive the success of the megaplex. We want to be sure we are the dominant theater, said Edelmann. Upon completion, Cumberland 12 will employ 70 full- and part-time employees, four of which will be full-time management positions, said Edelmann. As for the remainder of the former North Country Shopping Center plaza, Edelmann said plans are still in works to demolish the existing shopping center building and construct 600,000-square-feet of commercial buildings. The development tentatively dubbed Cumberland Commons is expected to house several businesses, the types of which will be based on negotiations with potential business partners. We are getting interest already from some flag hotels, were talking to a couple restaurant players, said Edelmann. Weve also had a lot of local requests for a grocery store and some particular restaurants, which we are trying to get. Edelmann did not want to disclose the names of the businesses as they are still considered to be under negotiation. Bassett said the overall development will be another feather in the cap for the town of Plattsburgh, which is already seeing growth by the addition of employers NovaBus and Hampton Inn and Suites and expansion of existing business like Schluter Systems. We needed to see the bar raised here in the community, as far as quality construction, quality of services offered, said Bassett. We didnt want to see tin roofs and cinder block walls. And, with these businesses, thats not the case. Bernie and the town have been excellent partners in working with us, said Edelmann. Its important because a business really is a partnership between the people investing in the community and the communitys leaders. Edelmann further credited the work of Conroy and Conroy Contractors, who were hired to perform the work at the Route 9 site, and their local subcontractors who have been outstanding. With this development, I think youll see this end of the town grow, said Bassett. Its a good place for investment.

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