Construction work set to begin on Convention Center Commons

Construction is expected to begin this month on Convention Center Commons, a commercial center in Allegheny Township featuring a 12-screen movie theater with stadium-style seating, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screens and digitally produced sound and video.

Carmike Cinema, which has opened what it describes as state-of-the-art “Big-D” theaters in other communities, has committed to be part of the new development, according to Reynolds Baldwin, business development director for Convention Center Commons LLC, the entity formed by Fiore Brothers to pursue the project.

Carmike Cinema’s state-of-the-art 12Plex “Big D” theater should draw 500,000 patrons a year, from up to 50 miles away or more, Baldwin said.

Carmike spokesman Robert Rinderman said that BigD theaters use a Christie Brillant 3-D flash projector capable of showing 3-D and 2-D movies.

“The end result is a light output of 30,000 lumens, creating a picture quality with noticeably higher resolution than HD,” Rinderman said.

The stadium-style seating will feature plus leather seating with highback rocking chairs and retractable armrests.

Project developers said the opening of the new theater, projected for fall 2015, will mean the closing of the Carmike theater in the Park Hills Plaza and later closing date for the Carmike 8 in the Logan Valley Mall. Mall representative Joy Weidel said Wednesday that she was unaware of Carmike’s plans.

Rinderman said “no formal decision” has been reached regarding the Park Hills and Logan Valley Mall locations, which remain under lease, and that Carmike does not yet have “an exact timeline regarding the opening in Convention Center Commons.”

In addition to the 12-screen theater, the developers announced that the center’s 99-room hotel will be a Holiday Inn Express, also expected to open in fall 2015. General construction work on both will be handled by Leonard S. Fiore Inc.

Baywood Hotel, which owns and operates 65 hotels, will own and manage the four-story Holiday Inn Express, Baldwin said.

Convention Center Commons is also expected to include a 26,000-square-foot office building, restaurants and shops. Tenants for those buildings have not been named.

Plans for the development surfaced late last year when developer Michael A. Fiore showed interest in entering the undeveloped 31-acre site south of Convention Center Boulevard into Pennsylvania’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program.

Fiore told Allegheny Township supervisors, Hollidaysburg Area School Board members and Blair County commissioners that entry into the LERTA program, allowing five years of incremental property tax breaks, would help him attract tenants to the site. Fiore also reminded the leaders that the undeveloped site was generating $5,000 a year in taxes and that if developed, it could generate more.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.