The Hudson Valley Mall is set to lose another major tenant this summer when Regal Cinemas shuts its doors. But the mall’s owners say they are in talks with another theater operator to take over and upgrade the 12-screen cinema.
John Mulherin, vice president for government relations at Hull Property Group, confirmed Monday the Regal Cinemas had announced plans to shut down its Hudson Valley Mall franchise as of Aug. 31. A theater has operated at the site since the mall opened in 1981. Mulherin said talks were ongoing with another theater operator about taking over the space but, citing the negotiations, declined to name the operator.
Mulherin, however, said the company would offer first-run films. He added that the company was also discussing interior and exterior renovations of the theater as part of the deal.
“The market is fabulous,” said Mulherin of the theater’s potential. “There’s no reason why people should have to go to New Paltz or Albany to see a movie.”
The departure of the theater chain is the latest twist in Hull Property Group’s efforts to revive the long-struggling retail center on Ulster Avenue. The Augusta, Ga.-based company bought the back in January 2017 for a fire-sale price of $8.1 million. Last August, the company negotiated a deal with the Town of Ulster and the Kingston City School District to lower the assessed value of the property by 90 percent; it had previously been valued, for taxing purposes, at $66 million. The deal also called for the town and the school district to refund $1.4 million in taxes already collected on the property over a five-year period.
Following the tax deal, the company put $1 million into interior renovations at the mall. Changes included new lighting, placing carpets over worn tile and replacing vacant storefronts with walls bearing murals highlighting local history. The company also evicted a number of tenants who, they believed, did not fit in with their vision for the mall. In an interview with the Kingston Times last year, Hull Property Group owner Jim Hull said that upgrading and “luxurizing” the theater was high their list of priorities as they sought to bring the mall back to profitability.