Heritage Park Mall Cinema 3
6745 East Reno Avenue,
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In 1976, Melvin Simon & Associates announced the new Heritage Park Mall with 750,000 square feet of shopping for Midwest City. The Mall opened theatre-less officially on October 7, 1978 with President Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy as a special guest along with Kyle Rote, Jr. The Simon property opened theatre-less with 100,000 less square feet but became 100% filled with retailers within its first three years that included anchors Sears and Dillards. Within two years, it also had its own interior theater.
At the tail end of the twin, triplex, and quadplex era of movie theaters, Farris Shanbour’s Oklahoma Cinema Theatres Circuit opened a triplex, the Heritage Park Cinema 3. It launched with three identical 400-seat auditoriums on June 13, 1980 with the films, “Island” with Michael Caine, “Wholly Moses” with Richard Pryor, and two Disney films, “The Black Hole” on a double feature with “Sleeping Beauty.” The theatre was in the northwest nub of the Mall and joined Shanbour’s other Oklahoma City locations, the North Park quad and the French Market 2.
On June 5, 1981, Commonwealth Amusement Circuit purchased the Oklahoma Cinema Circuit’s locations. Commonwealth, General Cinema and AMC were among those building new multiplexes in the Oklahoma City (OKC) market. Commonwealth built the The Heritage Plaza 5 that opened on March 21, 1986 in a strip shopping center just behind the Heritage Park Mall giving them a more convenient multiplex for Midwest City patrons.
United Artists bought out Commonwealth Amusement in November of 1988. Aggressively building 6- and 8-screen facilities throughout the United States, UA started to weed out smaller theaters. It had 9 OKC locations at the start of 1989. A year later, it had just four. UA the French Market 2, Quail Plaza 2, Reding 4, and Shepherd Twin. It would retain both Heritage Park locations, its Almonte 6, and would retain the North Park quad a little longer before closing it.
On November 16, 1996, Hollywood Theaters took on the remaining United Artists theatres with the two Midwest City Heritage Park venues and the Almonte. Hollywood would join the megaplex boom soon thereafter operating the Spotlight 14 and Penn Square 10 as market-changers, Cinemark launched the Tinseltown USA and AMC opened its Quail Spring 24 in OKC.
Hollywood made it to the end of a 30-year lease as the Heritage Park 3 made it all the way as a first-run theater. It closed July 25,1999 with “American Pie,” “The Haunting,” and “Wild, Wild West.” A good run! The circuit locked up the Heritage Park 5 after shows on January 31, 2000 and didn’t come back. Later in the year it was sued for back rental and the facility was converted to a church.
As for the Heritage Park 3’s former location, three years prior to the Mall’s 30th Anniversary, a new buyer astonishingly paid $7.2 million for the already-dying mall. Predictably, the 30-year point was a disaster for the Heritage Park Mall as original lessees fled the complex which went into immediate free-fall reaching greyfield status, another name for a “dead mall.” By 2009, just three retailers remained: the original Sears anchor (as Sears owned its property), a GNC, and a gift store along with some kiosks.
Because statistically the Mall accounted for more than 50% of Midwest City’s vacant retail market and with utilities far outpacing rental income, a compromise was reached where retailers were simply booted out February 15, 2010 to get the Mall off of the public records. A church joined the party and Sears somehow continued to 2017 in the officially dead mall because that’s what Sears did all over the country until it ended retail operations. As of the 2020’s, the city owned the former Sears and the facility that held the triplex was still standing.
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