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County awaiting owner’s word on widescreen theater

Published:   |   Updated: May 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM

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It’s still a waiting game for Hernando County’s first large-screen-format theater.

The county building department in March received its first set of building plans for the creation of a new large-screen format theater to be added on to the Beacon Theatres at State Road 50 and Mariner Boulevard, at the Western Way Plaza.

A review team consisting of officials from county utility, engineering, building, fire and zoning departments went through the plans.

Several comments were made and submitted to the applicant, Georgia Theatre Company.

But a check with the department Friday morning shows there has been no action from the company, and efforts by Hernando Today to get a comment were unsuccessful.

The plans call for the interior wall of one of the 10 existing auditoriums to be knocked down and the lobby expanded — giving customers more room and expanding food and beverage options.

In all, after the renovations are complete, there will be one widescreen theater and 13 standard-sized auditoriums.

The addition is expected to be about 35 feet high and 70 feet wide. Other than hospitals and the old courthouse, the theater would be one of the tallest buildings in Hernando County.

Some of the comments that were made during a site and building review include:

More detailed information on building wind speed to determine its durability during a storm;

More details on the building’s fire protection systems and fire alarms;

A landscape plan for a new parking area must be submitted;

A comprehensive wildlife survey needs to be done to show the presence or absence of protected species.

In other news:

O’Reilly Auto Parts Store is close to completion in downtown Brooksville, just north of the McDonald’s on U.S. 41

Springfield, Mo.-based O’Reilly is making inroads into central and south Florida and will tackle head-on such stores as Discount Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts and Auto Zone.

The chain is building a distribution center in Lakeland to handle the new Florida stores.

Mark Merz, director of external reporting and investor relations for O’Reilly Auto Parts, told Hernando Today in an interview Brooksville was subject to the same site selection criteria as other stores. The chain looks at easy truck access to the store, demographics, economic climate and the number of competitors in the area.

The typical store is 7,100 square feet and employs 8-10 people, according to Merz.

The chain opened its 4,000th store in Tampa in January.

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