Plaza Cinemas to close in Akron

By Katie Byard
Beacon Journal business writer

cinema14cut
The Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill will close Jan 3. (Michael Chritton)

Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill will shut down early next year, about two months after celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The eight-screen complex, part of The Plaza at Chapel Hill shopping strip off Howe Avenue, will show movies through Jan. 3 and then cease operations, said David Huffman, director of marketing for the theater’s operator, regional chain Cleveland Cinemas of Solon.

Huffman said Cleveland Cinemas has been operating the theater under a management agreement with Plaza at Chapel Hill owner Visconsi Cos. Ltd., and Visconsi wants to find another use for the property.

He said he did not know Visconsi’s plans. Officials with Visconsi, headquartered in Pepper Pike, could not be reached.

“I’ve heard everything from they might be razing it and doing something completely different [with the site] or repurposing the building,” Huffman said.

Huffman said he did not have details concerning the theater’s finances, but said the theater operates in a competitive market, with a Regal movie complex nearby, on Independence Avenue in Akron.

He said about 15 full- and part-time employees work at Plaza Cinemas. Cleveland Cinemas may have other positions in the company that affected workers could fill, he said. Huffman noted, however, that none of the chain’s other theaters are in the Akron area.

Cleveland Cinemas has operated Plaza Cinemas for Visconsi since 2008, taking over operations after AMC Entertainment did not renew its lease. Cleveland Cinemas has eight locations in Northeast Ohio, including the Cedar Lee, known for its independent film fair, in Cleveland Heights.

Plaza Cinemas remained a first-run house under Cleveland Cinemas management, but it also offered independent and cult films, such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This Saturday, the theater will screen Christmas favorite Home Alone; show times are 9:30 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. tickets are $5. The final Rocky Horror screening will be midnight Saturday with the 69th Floorshow troupe presenting its final “live shadow cast” performance in front of the movie screen.

The troupe says on its website that it is looking for another theater.

The Plaza at Chapel Hill shopping strip opened in 1986 on the Akron-Cuyahoga Falls border at the site of the former Breathnach Country Club.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.


© 2014 The Akron Beacon Journal  ●  Ohio.com  ●  Enjoy  ● 44 E. Exchange Street, Akron, Ohio 44308