Cobb Theatres will build a dine-in movie theater at Liberty Center, shown here in the upper left corner.
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Liberty Center partners John Bucksbaum, left, and Yaromir Steiner.
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Liberty Center signs dine-in theater concept at ICSC convention in Las Vegas

Cobb Theatres to bring luxury movie concept here

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LAS VEGAS - Butler County's Liberty Center project will sport an upscale dine-in theater by Birmingham, Ala. –based Cobb Theatres, developer Yaromir Steiner revealed at the ICSC conference in Las Vegas Monday morning.

"This theater will be the most luxurious, the highest-end theater in the marketplace when it opens," said Steiner, founder and CEO of Steiner + Associates of Columbus, which is partnering with Bucksbaum Retail Properties of Chicago on the $400 million Liberty Center project. It is one of several local retail projects trying to land key tenants at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention.

"This will be more luxurious than the Easton theaters we have already," Steiner said. "So, it really will be the best in the state."

Steiner is displaying a large scale model of the Liberty Center project at the RECon 2013 leasing convention, where it hopes to meet with dozens of retailers by the time the show ends Wednesday. One of those meetings will likely involve a "junior anchor," a unique retail store with regional drawing power. Steiner has said the 1.1 million-square-foot project will include such an attraction, but has not identified the prospective tenant publicly.

The announcement Monday comes less than a month after Steiner said it signed a letter of intent with Towne Properties to develop 150 luxury housing units on the site, which will include a 200,000-square-foot Dillard's. The developer also has a letter of intent with a hotel developer that they have declined to name.  

Cobb Theatres operates 20 theaters in five states, including 14 in Florida. Its properties try to be "entertainment attractions" as opposed to just showing movies and they are known for stadium-style, high-backed seating and "wall-to-wall, curved high-gain screens for brighter colors and sharper images," according to its web site. Many of its properties have Imax or Real D 3-dimensional screens.

The menus at other Cobb Theatres locations, include tuna, New York strip steak, shrimp mac and cheese and several deserts including creme brulee and caramelized banana cheesecake. Weekend brunch is served at some locations as are special occasion dinners as well. View some offerings at the Cobb Theatre CineBistro location in Atlanta. 

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"We like them because they have a track record of about eight theaters where they have that high-end component," Steiner said. "For us, the fact that they have a dine-in theater, large comfortable seats, was very, very important."

Steiner + Associates was hoping to have a revised development agreement in place before the ICSC event began May 19. The deal is not yet done, but Steiner and Butler County Administrator Charles Young both said talks are continuing.

"Progress is steady," said Young via email.

"It will have no impact on our ability to land tenants as long as we reach a conclusion on this in the next few weeks," Steiner said.

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