Looks like downtown Orlando is going to be waiting a lot longer for the much anticipated return of movie screens in the heart of the city. According to Thursday's Orlando Sentinel Business section, AMC Theatres has opted out of its agreement to manage a 12-screen multiplex in The Plaza office towers because of a lack of progress in completing interior work on the second floor theater complex. Despite the rumors that the only stuff left to do was relatively minor, RP Realty Partners, the owners of the space, haven't even said whether they'd complete the work if they happened to find another tenant. Apparently the crappy economy and the horrible real estate market--in particular condo sales downtown that would house a local audience that could walk to the movies--have got a lot of heavy hitters rethinking their strategies for the entertainment dollar in the city of Orlando.
How many years ago was this thing supposed to open? How many different chains have been attached to this multiplex? Must be pretty frustrating for the locals that did move with the hopes (and shattered dreams?) that downtown Orlando would soon have its first first-run screens since the Beacham Theater on Orange Avenue became a series of concert halls and clubs beginning in the mid-1970s. In the meantime, film lovers can always head 10 minutes north on 17-92 to Enzian in Maitland--you know there'll be a terrific film and great food, beer, wine and snacks waiting for you when you do. And at least you can take comfort in that.