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


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.