Movie Towne officially launched in Guyana… Owners mum on land acquisition cost
Guyana’s entertainment stock will receive a big boost with the establishment of Movie Towne Guyana.
The venture was officially launched yesterday during a simple ceremony at the Georgetown Club, which was attended by President Bharat Jagdeo, presidential candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Donald Ramotar and Chairman of Multi-Cinema’s Guyana Inc., Derek Chin, and other officials of the Trinidad and Tobago-based parent company, Movie Towne.
Movie Towne Guyana will be located on a controversial plot of land at Turkeyen, which is still the subject of a bitter litigation process.
The sod-turning process was scheduled to take place a few months ago, but this was halted by an injunction which was filed by local conglomerate Toolsie Persaud Limited, the original owners of the land on which the cinema complex will be constructed.
Chairman and founder of the Trinidad-based Multicinemas, which owns Movie Towne, Guyanese Derek Chin, informed that the entertainment hotspot, which will comprise eight movie theatres, restaurants, and other state-of-the art facilities, will cost in excess of TT$180M (approx.G$5.7B).
This figure however does not include the cost of the Turkeyen land.
In fact, Chin declined to disclose how much his company paid for the land which was being administered by the government of Guyana.
“We bought the land before…” he said. But when asked at what price, Chin responded “Well, I prefer… let me just hold that there…we get it at market value.”
But whatever are the contentions over the acquisition of the land, MovieTowne Guyana is expected to change the face of local entertainment and leisure forever in Guyana.
According to Chin, nine years after its introduction to Trinidadians, Movie Towne has become the number one destination for clean entertainment in Trinidad and it is expected that the same will occur in Guyana.
The MovieTowne franchise currently serves over 1.5 million movie customers per year throughout three locations in Trinidad and Tobago and is fast approaching the TT$1B mark in assets.
After such outstanding success in Trinidad and Tobago, the four directors of the parent company, Multicinemas Trinidad Ltd. – Derek Chin, Pierpont Scott, Winfield Scott and Ernesto Abraham (three of whom are of Guyanese heritage) – decided the time was right to reinvest in the land that gave birth to their ‘strong spirit of enterprise’.
These businessmen will be investing over US$20 million in the Guyana venture, and the entire facility and all its enterprises are expected to provide employment for 500-800 Guyanese nationals when completed.
The development will begin construction in 2012 employing contractors from the local construction industry, with project management, design and engineering support from Trinidad. The entire project is expected to be completed in under two years – most likely in 2013.
After its rapid growth with branches in Port of Spain and Chaguanas in Trinidad and in Scarborough, Tobago, this new concept in wholesome multi-faceted entertainment, shopping and night life is now directed at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, promising to change the lives of Guyanese far and wide offering a level of recreational leisure they never experienced before.
MovieTowne Guyana will be the parent company’s first diversification outside of Trinidad and Tobago and it will be the fourth location in this pioneering franchise, with a compliment of 30 screens in total.
The MovieTowne complex will be situated on 10 acres of prime land in the nation’s newest emerging urban growth area in Turkeyen.
The new MovieTowne Guyana complex will accommodate 175,000 sq. ft. of retail and entertainment space with eight state-of-the-art, luxurious cinemas offering the people of Guyana for the first time, the widest choice of Hollywood blockbuster movies, regional and Bollywood movies. The cinema will also include a food concession with a delicious menu, video arcades and birthday party rooms.
The owners expect that in 2013, pleasure seekers and shoppers in Guyana will finally get to enjoy visiting this entertainment and shopping mall, which will offer 30 local regional and international stores including a 40,000 sq. ft. anchor supermarket HiLo, Trinidad’s leading franchise supermarket chain, three premium dining restaurants, a bank, live entertainment indoor space and parking for over 700 cars.
According to Chin, Movie Towne Guyana was born out of an invitation from President Bharat Jagdeo.
“The President, back in 2006, you know, whenever he comes to Trinidad, he would have lunch or dinner there (Movie Towne) and he just said to me one day, ‘Why not come and take a look at Guyana’,” he explained.
The businessman said that when he did return to Guyana after nearly 40 years, he saw that Guyana was on the move and he decided to bite the bullet and invest.
“A lot of Trinidad businessmen are talking very, very good about Guyana…and they are beginning to look at Guyana in a positive way,” he said.