Loews Park Central
12802 Park Central Drive,
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Loews first foray into the Dallas-Fort Worth metoplex, Park Central opened in 1977 with 2,500 seats. It was a free-standing quad theatre in the midst of the Park Central development. Although the development featured hotels and restaurants, it mostly grew into an office park.
The theatre lobby was done in dark red and earth tones typical of Loews Theatres at that time. A Patrick Carey mural of old movie stars hung above one wall of the lobby. In the center of the lobby beneath a fake skylight was a circular concession stand.
The theatre had two large auditoriums seating around 600 and two smaller auditoriums seating around 250. The large auditoriums were 70mm capable. Auditorium one was equipped with Sound 360. Auditorium two was capable of an 8-track Dolby presentation with 70mm engagements. The smaller auditoriums were monaural. The seats were the Griggs push-back seats typical of that time.
The back of each auditorium was the smoking section, and ashtrays were built into the backs of the seats.
When Dolby Stereo became the dominant sound format, the Sound 360 system in auditorium one was modified to play Dolby Stereo.
The smoking section and ashtrays did not last long.
Initially successful and much more elegant looking than the Northpark and Prestonwood area theatres, Park Central’s business slowly declined in part due to its poor location in an office park. Loews maintained the theatre well, but during the 1980’s, they did not upgrade it with THX, computerized ticketing, cupholder armrests, Ultra Stereo, or any other amenities added to the Northpark and Prestonwood area theatres.
In the early-1990’s, the health department condemned the original concession stand, and Loews replaced it with a large white stand running the length of one wall in the theatre. They changed the lobby wall coverings to blue and gray, and they added computerized ticketing to the theatre along with an automated ticketing machine. After steadily declining through the 1980s, attendance briefly improved following the partial remodeling but began to decline again after about a year. During the time the company was known as Sony Theatres, this theatre retained the Loews name.
When Loews opened their nearby Keystone Park megaplex in 1996, they were contractually obligated to close Park Central even though it was still turning a six-figure annual profit. The theatre sat empty for five years as a tenant was sought. In December of 2001, the roof over auditoriums three and four collapsed. By the end of the month, the rest of the theatre had been knocked down before it fell down.
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