Theater next to mall reopens

Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.

The discount movie theater in The Oaks Mall Plaza has reopened as Gators 4 under new ownership with $2 second-run movies.

The four-screen cinema is at 6741 Newberry Road in the plaza next to The Oaks Mall near Toys "R" Us.

General manager Michael O'Brien, who has been at the theater through four owners off and on for 15 years, said the theater will carry four or five movies at a time.

"We get whatever was big five, six weeks ago," he said.

The theater — last called Gator Cinemas — closed 14 months ago under the ownership of Cinema Holdings. It was purchased by Total Consulting Services of Clearwater, but O'Brien said that owner is the silent partner to Orlando-based Touchstar Cinemas, which owns five other theaters in Florida and Alabama.

Gators 4 has replaced 200 seats, repaired other seats, put in all digital projectors, painted the floors, replaced sewage lines and fixed the exterior doors, O'Brien said.

Tickets are $1 on Tuesdays, and free kids movies will be shown at 10 a.m. every day through the summer starting this week.

The phone number for listings, once it is connected, will be 352-331-6949, O'Brien said.

The former Oaks 4 theater was owned by AMC until it closed in 2000. It reopened in 2001 as Gator Cinemas under new owners and underwent two subsequent ownership changes before closing in early 2012.

Kauffman Tire

Kauffman Tire is opening a store in Gainesville in August where the former Whataburger was located at 3545 W. University Ave.

"Market studies indicated that it would be a good market for a Kauffman Tire to be in a university town," said John Weaver, director of design and construction for Kauffman Tire.

One of the good things about a university town is that, even in a down economy, students still go to school and they still drive, he said.

Weaver said Kauffman Tire sells a variety of tires. There may be a market for truck tires in Gainesville because of the horse farms, he said.

Kauffman Tire is a third-generation business going back 77 years with stores, warehouses and distribution centers in Ohio, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and Georgia.

Kauffman Tire had to get a special-use permit to build in mixed-use zoning a structure and six service bays considered to be limited automotive use.

Todd Rainsberger, owner and broker of Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors, who helped Kauffman Tire find a location, said the area where the store is being built is considered by the city to be a gateway into the city, so Kauffman was required to change the location of service entrances.

There was some neighborhood opposition to the store being built.

Weaver said that based on what he heard from the public, some of the other retail establishments along University Avenue have been noisy neighbors.

"It's hard to say, ‘Yeah, let's let someone come and now we'll have additional traffic and additional noise.'"

Kauffman Tire conducted a noise study to compare decibel levels, concluding that the store wouldn't create any more noise than University Avenue created by itself, Weaver said.

— Caitlin Sinett

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor and Caitlin Sinett is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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