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Movie theater first in line at new RR commercial center

RIO RANCHO — The California developer behind the planned Uptown-style commercial center in southern Rio Rancho is shooting for a late summer groundbreaking for the movie theater that will launch the first phase of the Village at Rio Rancho.

Robert Geringer of Geringer Capital said he is still under lease for the planned 12-screen theater and is targeting an opening in spring 2013.

“We’re still focused on trying to get out there this summer and get the cinema in,” Geringer told the Journal.

He is working on securing a couple of national or regional brand restaurants that could open at the same time as the cinema. Geringer secured a deal last year with Cinemark, the Plano, Texas-based movie theater corporation.

“We’re trading some letters of intent with restaurants, which is really the cornerstone,” Geringer said.

The Rio Rancho City Council approved a site plan for the movie theater and adjacent restaurant sites in February.

The city has not issued any permits for the cinema or restaurants yet, city spokesman Peter Wells said.

The Village at Rio Rancho is a 75-acre, mixed-use commercial development just north of the new Presbyterian Rust Medical Center at Unser and Wellspring. City councilors in December 2009 approved the developer’s request to create a tax increment development district for the Village project.

The mechanism allows a developer to issue bonds to cover the upfront costs for infrastructure. The developer repays the bonds, using a portion of the gross-receipts tax revenue generated by the new development. Albuquerque used the mechanism for projects at Mesa del Sol and in the Uptown area near Winrock Mall.

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