The Public-Private Partnership between the City of Pine Bluff and Go Forward Pine Bluff announced


Monday that Apex Cinemas, a theater chain based in Oklahoma, has visited Pine Bluff several times to


scout a possible location.


The cinema chain is gauging interest in expanding its footprint to Pine Bluff, in addition to coupling the


theater with a family fun center.


Mayor Washington and Go Forward Pine Bluff CEO Ryan Watley stated that discussions with potential


theater operators have been in process since the release of the Downtown Master Plan in December of


2018. As a result, the Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency issued a Request for Qualifications in July of 2019


regarding a public-private partnership to design, construct, and manage a movie theater. Apex Cinemas


responded accordingly, expressing interest in building a 10 – 12 movie screen cinema coupled with a


family entertainment component. Jack and Jill Fun Zone (a long-standing local business in the Pines Mall)


is also listed as a potential partner. The cost of the development is expected to approach nine million


dollars.


Felix Waller, owner of Apex Cinema, highlighted Mayor Washington along with Go Forward Pine Bluff for


having a plan to address issues within the city. “Apex Cinema is a growing chain, and when we learned of


what Pine Bluff is actively doing to address their challenges, we became very interested in expanding our


offering. We currently have four theaters throughout Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. We are


accustomed to working in similar markets like Pine Bluff. However, Pine Bluff is unique in that it seems to


have a detailed and active plan that targets the challenges facing its community. I believe strongly Pine


Bluff is actively taking ground to improve its conditions. Overall, our decision will rest in the financial


feasibility of bringing a first-class theater and family fun center experience to Pine Bluff. We want to


make Pine Bluff a part of our growing footprint.”


Maurice Taggart, Executive Director of the Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency, commented, “This is a great


opportunity for Pine Bluff and Jefferson County. The Agency is actively evaluating potential incentives


that are permissible under Arkansas law for the family fun center.”


Ryan Watley added that this is one of many developments currently in process as part of the strategy to


leverage local resources to secure significant private investment. I am thankful for Mr. Waller’s interest in


Pine Bluff. We must continue working to make it a reality.”


Mayor Washington also thanked Mr. Waller for his interest and commented on the significance. “I believe


we can come together to make this a reality. His investment will not only improve the entertainment


options but add to the number of temporary construction and permanent jobs within the city. With the


recent renovation of Saracen Cinema 8, the fruition of Mr. Waller’s proposal will ensure Pine Bluff has the


appeal and capacity to provide first-class family entertainment for Pine Bluffians, as well as residents


throughout southeast Arkansas.”


For more information, please contact the Office of the Mayor or Go Forward Pine Bluff.