Regal Theaters Doubt Charlottesville Can Build a Road

At least that’s the angle Charlottesville Tomorrow sees in the announcement that Charlottesville will be getting stadium seating.

Apparently, Regal has made a business decision of their own to move ahead with an upgrade. Sufficient state and federal funding is not expected for the Hillsdale Drive project until 2015 at the earliest. Part of Hillsdale was identified as a “shovel ready” project for which Charlottesville has sought federal stimulus funds.

“We were aware that there was talk of a road project either near or on our property,” said Russ Nunley, Regal’s Vice President of Marketing & Communications in an interview with Charlottesville Tomorrow. “We are unaware of where that project stands with respect to location, timeline and approvals.”

It seems that Charlottesville/Albemarle’s reputation of endlessly studying and not actually doing is well-known. One would assume that Regal Theaters wouldn’t be planning to spend so much money if they thought that they’d have to tear the theater down in the near future.

Update 05 May 2009: The Daily Progress has more today in their story, and this quote from David Slutzy makes one think that the City/County may consider eminent domain eventually … (bolding mine)

“It seems a bit bizarre,” he said. “I’m excited that they have plans to expand the theater. But, my word, it’s a bit surprising.”

Slutzky is skeptical that an alternative route for the Hillsdale extension could be found.

“There’s just not a lot of wiggle room,” he said.

Ideally, he added, the community would find a way to have both the upgraded movie theater, as well as the completed road project. “Both would be good,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we will have that road.”

Update 06 May 2009: Bumped from Sideblog to main blog because Waldo at Cvillenews caught the same thing I did – it seems that

1) Eminent Domain is at least being alluded to as an option
2) The chances of the Hillsdale Connector being built before the new theater is obsolete are slim to none.

Update 15 May 2009: The Daily Progress has an editorial on this: (bolding mine)

Regal officials may or may not know local politics well enough to have taken it into their considerations, but it is tempting to speculate: Are they aware of our area’s propensity to endlessly debate public improvements, so that changing conditions on the ground often overtake and render obsolete our plans for, say, new roadways? If they possess that awareness, are they explpoiting it in their effort to “expeditiously” get the new theater built?

My thinking: probably. They’re taking a calculated risk at our area’s collective incompetence with regard to building new roads. And it’s probably a safe bet.

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