Malco moves forward with 12-screen theater

Malco Theatres said Monday it will build a 12-screen theater in Olive Branch.

Initial site work at Goodman Road and West Hamilton Circle was completed several years ago, but the project was put on hold when the recession hit.

Economic conditions have improved to the point where Malco is resuming the project, with plans to complete it by mid-2013, the company said.

The cinema will anchor a planned development by Michael Lightman, which will include a couple of restaurants that want to open next to the Malco theater location.

“Malco is very excited about bringing a state-of-the-art, all-digital cinema with 3D capability to the Olive Branch community,” said Jimmy Tashie, executive vice president of theater operations for Malco.

“We know it took a long time to happen, but the end product will be something the community will be very proud to have and enjoy for many years to come.”

In 2007, Ambarish Keshani announced plans to open a cinema in Olive Branch, competing with Malco, which already had a cinema in Southaven and planned its own in Olive Branch. In 2008, Malco acquired Keshani’s property, but put the project on hold as the recession deepened.

Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard applauded the news.

“I look forward to their beginning construction and the opening of the cinema,” he said. “One of the most common questions asked of me recently has been, ‘When is Malco going to build?’ Now we know.”

Malco also had projects in Louisiana and Arkansas that were put on hold, but are now set to resume. Malco recently completed the renovation of the Ridgeway Four Cinema in Memphis, and will complete the renovation of the Forest Hill Cinema in Germantown bymonth’s end.