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Theater Coming In 2013

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The California developer behind the planned Uptown-style commercial center in southern Rio Rancho intends to break ground on a 12-screen Cinemark theater this summer with an opening projected in spring 2013.

The Rio Rancho City Council approved a site plan for the movie theater and adjacent restaurant sites this week. Developer Robert Geringer now hopes construction will begin on the cinema in June or July.

Geringer secured a deal with Cinemark last year and originally hoped to open the cinema this May, in time for the summer movie season. Paperwork delays prompted him to postpone the start of construction for a year.

The movie theater and adjacent restaurant and retail businesses will be the first phase of the 75-acre mixed-use Village at Rio Rancho commercial development. The site is just north of the new Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, at Unser and Wellspring, which opened in October.

Geringer hasn’t picked a contractor yet, but said he would use one of the construction companies Cinemark has used for similar theater projects.

Although several local restaurants have expressed interest in locating adjacent to the cinema, Geringer said he is looking for national or regional companies for the site.

Several other construction projects are poised to take off in the area. Hawthorn Retirement Group of Vancouver, Wash., is beginning construction this month on a 131-unit retirement living facility just east of the Village at Rio Rancho site. The facility is scheduled to open in spring 2013.

And Unser Pavilion, a commercial development on the southeast corner of Unser and Wellspring, opposite the hospital, is attracting strong interest, said leasing agent Matt Reeves of Maestas & Ward.

The development will consist of a 10,000-square-foot building, a 5,000-square-foot building and three independent building sites.

“There’s quite a bit of interest,” Reeves said.

Although he declined to reveal names, he said national chains specializing in sandwiches and bagels, a credit union and national drive-through restaurant are in the works.

They’ve also had interest from a beauty salon and an Asian restaurant, he said.

Last year, a 14-screen Premier Cinema and several restaurants opened near the Southern and Unser intersection about two miles north of the hospital.