The Armory Drive 3 Cinemas has been closed since January 2008. According to an agent for the property manager, there have been a few inquiries to rent the space. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS

Archived Story

Few express interest in reopening cinema

Published 8:58am Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the third in a series of stories about what’s happening with some of the vacant commercial buildings in Western Tidewater.


FRANKLIN—Although the skin of the Armory Drive 3 Cinemas has sagged since it closed in January 2008, its skeleton is essentially intact.

That is, the sloping floor, balconies and projection booths are available for anyone interested in reopening the movie house, said Angelica Beltran of Wheeler Real Estate, which is looking to lease the theater, as is, for $4,115 a month for owner Christopoulos Family LLC in Virginia Beach.

“There has been some interest in leasing the property,” Beltran said. “I’ve shown it two or three times in the fall and winter. It still has the bones for a theater. It’s still open to bringing back an entertainment venue.”

An unnamed couple expressed great interest in reopening the theater, but personal affairs prevented a commitment, she said.

Otherwise, there has not been much response, Beltran added.

Any renovation would be “significant,” such as leveling the theater’s floors or changing the projection technology to digital, and predictably “cost prohibitive to convert into a retail store.”

Beltran said she’s contacted movie theaters within a 50- to 100-mile radius, but has gotten no takers.

The units next to the theater are also available for rent.

Former owner Howard Gainey closed the theater to reduce his business properties because of his advancing age. Issues of continual upkeep, such as heating and cooling, and a leaking roof, were also a factor in the closing.

Donald Goodwin, director of community development for the city, said a certificate of occupancy was issued May 23, 1990.

For more information, contact Beltran at 757-627-9088 or 866-203-4864.

  • nwarren

    Paul D. Camp is showing films now in the Workforce Development Technology Theater. They are meeting the needs of the community. Check it out November 18 when they will show the classic film “12 Angry Men.” It is free and open to the public.

    Suggest Removal

  • workingtodamill

    From what I understand from a former manager on the theater, the building owner doesn’t want to fix anything, like the roof or the a/c. For 4grand a month, I would want that fixed!

    Suggest Removal

  • Dakota01

    The City of Franklin doesn’t offer any incentives for a new business to come here. The City is dieing and the City council isn’t doing any thing about it.

    Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    That happens frequently everywhere. I always thought SOME money was better than NO money. But then I have seem to have a little different thought process than most.

    Suggest Removal


    Rent is too high. Just like so many other buildings in Franklin. Everyone thinks they have a gold mine of a facility, but all they have is a coal mine. I personally know of several businesses that were looking to open in Franklin but rent was too high everywhere and the city certainly doesnt lay out the red carpet for anyone.

    Suggest Removal

    • 087hunter

      I agree. The few businesses that do venture to our area build new buildings instead of renting/leasing existing buildings because it is cheaper to just build a new building. That is why Farm Fresh built across from Wal-Mart instead of just moving into the old shut up Winn-Dixie.

      Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    Sure would be nice to have it re-opened. I’d go more often if it would help keep it open. There aren’t too many movies I want to see bad enough to drive to Chesapeake or SouthPark. Rather wait for DVD. I guess I didn’t go often enough when there was one in Franklin because I just assumed it would always be there. If we could get it reopened, hopefully the community would patronize it enough to help it stay there. We can support Ace Hardware, Lowes and a Tractor Supply in Franklin, Advance Auto, Auto Zone, and NAPA in Franklin, 3 Chinese restaurants, 3 burger joints, 2 Italian, plus all the others in Franklin, we ought to be able to keep one movie theater open. I can’t afford it, but it would at least be a good tax write off for somebody who can even if it didn’t make them a fortune.

    Suggest Removal

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