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Kingsport BMA OKs incentives for IMAX theater

December 20th, 2013 10:22 pm by Matthew Lane

Kingsport BMA OKs incentives for IMAX theater

KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave its blessing to a seven-year incentive package for Frank Theatres and its plan to build a new IMAX theater at the Kingsport Town Center.

Frank Theatres, of Jupiter, Fla., moved into the old Marquee Cinemas location this past summer, renovated the theaters and reopened for business in August. Marquee announced last year its intention to leave the mall.

In addition to renovating the existing theater, Frank announced it would expand into the parking lot with a 40,000- square-foot, two-story addition that would house a Red Brick Grille restaurant, 50-game arcade, 18 lanes of bowling and an auditorium with stadium-like seating to view sports events.

To help sweeten the deal, the Kingsport Economic Development Board approved an $800,000 incentive package to Frank if it brings an IMAX to the Model City. The incentive was originally offered by the KEDB in June 2012 and has been extended three times since then, primarily due to when Marquee would leave and when Frank would come in.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the BMA signed off on the incentive package.

 The incentive package is a seven-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). According to Assistant City Manager Jeff Fleming, once the IMAX is built, Frank will pay a reduced amount of property taxes to the city and county for the next seven years  —  about $800,000 less than they would have normally paid.

However, the payment is on an ascending scale, starting with a $4,000 payment to the city and a $5,000 payment to the county in year one, increasing by $1,000 each for the next six years. In year eight, Fleming said Frank would pay the full amount of property taxes.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Saturday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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