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DeVargas theaters are shutting down

SANTA FE — After just about four decades anchoring a corner of DeVargas Center, the six-screen theater complex there will show its last movies on Sunday.

Katy Fitzgerald, senior property manager for the mall, confirmed Wednesday that the theaters will be shutting down with the approach of their lease renewal date. She identified the problem as mall management — and customers’ — desire to get upgrades to the deteriorating seats, carpeting and more but an inability to reach an agreement with the Regal Entertainment Group for desired improvements.

Inquiries via phone and email from the Journal to that business’ media relations contact did not get an immediate response.

“The theater had not been remodeled in a very long time,” Fitzgerald said, adding that many filmgoers had been asking for improvements. “It was in desperate need of interior remodeling.”

But, she added, despite the openings of more screens in recent years at both the Violet Crown and the Jean Cocteau cinemas, she wasn’t aware in any drop-off in attendance at the DeVargas theaters. It was a good theater, showing a lot of art films on the north end of town, she said.

“We’re sad to see them go,” Fitzgerald added. “But people deserve seating without holes.”

The theaters opened in 1977, about five years after the mall opened, according to Fitzgerald. She said she does not know if any tenant had occupied that space before the theaters moved in.

At this point, she said she couldn’t say if theater offerings would continue in that space or if another retailer would move in. When that is determined, then final decisions will be made on how to upgrade both the interior and the streetfront of that section of the mall.

The same is true of the old Hastings space, for which she said she may be able to announce a new tenant within a month or two.

“This is an opportunity for us to clean things up and make the area more pedestrian-friendly,” she said of both spaces.

Fitzgerald added, “There are retailers that desperately need to be in this market on this side of town.” DeVargas Center is located at the northern intersection of Paseo de Peralta and Guadalupe Street.