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Gallery at South DeKalb Mall’s movie theater closes

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After making a comeback seven years ago, the Gallery at South DeKalb Mall’s movie theater has closed.

The South DeKalb Stadium12 theatre shut down over a month ago, leaving the 42,000-square-foot big box empty, mall officials confirmed this week.

“We’ve been talking to other possible tenants,” said Tene Harris, the mall’s general manager. “Obviously, our first choice would be to replace it with another movie theatre because the space is already suited for entertainment. But it could be converted for another use. We would just have to look and see what works.”

The South DeKalb movie theater has experienced several transitions over the years. In the early 1990s when it was a 24,000-square-foot theatre, the facility was closed for years in disrepair.

The mall, which opened in 1968, launched a redevelopment program in 1998 after DeKalb County government approved a $2.8 million tax package to help fund a $13 million movie theater. Then-mall owners O'Leary Partners and Magic Johnson Theatres had planned to build a 12-screen cinema at the mall, but that deal fell through.

In April 2007, American Screen Works built a 42,000-square-foot cinema with stadium seating, digital sound, advanced ticket pick-up and an enhanced food and beverage menu on the back side of the mall. The movie complex also included a jazz bar for adults.

Eight months later, in Nov. 2007, the cinema changed hands becoming the Galaxy Funplex South DeKalb, Harris said.  

Next, Tennessee-based Big Cinemas Management took over and began managing the South DeKalb Stadium 12 theater.  

 Harris acknowledged the theatre has had difficulty attracting a steady base of customers..

“No business can stay open without the support of the community,” said Harris.    

DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson, who serves as presiding officer of the Board of Commissioners, said he plans to do everything possible to assist the mall in making sure the community is well served. 

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