Mark Brownlee, Ottawa Business Journal
The soon-to-be-redeveloped Lansdowne Park now has another question mark as a future tenant that was slated to open a theatre at the site's vast new retail space announced Thursday it's moving away from the movie business.
Empire Company Ltd. said it plans to sell its location in Kanata, as well as other locations in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, to Cineplex Inc.
The deal does not include the Empire location at the World Exchange Plaza or the planned location at Lansdowne Park, said Pat Marshall, vice-president of Cineplex, in an interview.
The firm doesn't have any plans to open a cinema at either location, she added.
A spokesperson for Empire could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which is handling the Lansdowne project, is still unsure of what Empire's decision means to the future of the project.
"We are only aware of what's been reported in the media and are trying to understand the implications for the Empire Theatre planned at Lansdowne," said Roger Greenberg, a partner on the project, in a statement. "When we do find out, we'll be happy to share further."
The theatre is already under construction, the statement said. It did not say whether there was a lease agreement in place.
Empire's departure would leave another hole to fill at the Lansdowne site. The company responsible for the project's retail components, Trinity Developments, has issued few details about its plans for a large part of the close to 400,000 square feet of retail space.
It listed several new tenants – including TD Canada Trust, Rexall and Jack Astor's – in February but then pulled them down a short time later.
Empire was still listed as a future tenant at Lansdowne on Trinity's website as of Thursday afternoon. Messages left with the company were not immediately returned.
The location at Lansdowne, which was scheduled to open in 2014, was supposed to replace a theatre at the Rideau Centre that closed this spring.
The Kanata location of Empire Theatres is one of 26 movie theatres across the country Cineplex Inc. plans to acquire., according to Thursday's announcement.