By MARIAN ACCARDI
Times Business Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
18-screen cinema to open in spring at Jones Valley center
Site work has started on a new 61,155-square-foot Hobby Lobby Creative Center at Valley Bend at Jones Farm, the latest addition to the shopping center at Carl T. Jones Drive and Four Mile Post Road in south Huntsville.
With the addition of Hobby Lobby and the rest of the shopping center's second phase and a new Rave Motion Pictures theater, "we're easily at 700,000 square feet of retail" at Valley Bend, including its surrounding outparcels and the Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center, said developer Raymond Jones Jr.
"We're very excited about what is happening and what has happened," Jones said. The development is good news in terms of the added tax base and services for the community, he said.
Construction on the Hobby Lobby probably will start within 60 days, Jones said. The anticipated opening is January.
"This store will bring a new mix to the center that we don't now have. It will make a good addition," Jones said. The arts and crafts chain has 360 stores, including two in Huntsville.
Site preparation is also under way on a 90,000-square-foot Rave Motion Pictures theater, which will be the city's largest with 18 screens and 4,100 stadium-style seats. "They are shooting for a May or June 2006 opening," Jones said. The adjacent lot will have about 1,150 parking spaces.
"It took about two years and two months to get to where we are now" on the Rave project, Jones said. "It takes a lot of time to put together a development like this."
Hobby Lobby is the anchor tenant for Valley Bend's second phase, which will include about 148,000 square feet of retail space. "We're now in negotiations with a few (potential tenants), and hopefully we will have more announcements in the near future," Jones said. He doesn't yet know the exact number and size of the stores. "That will come as we lease them," he said.
"Of the remaining five outparcels (along Carl T. Jones Drive), we're in negotiations with four (companies), including Zaxby's," he said. "The other three are sit-down restaurants."
The first phase of Valley Bend has more than 392,000 square feet, with one 1,600-square-foot space vacant. Its anchor store is SuperTarget, which opened in fall 2001.