Developers of The Grove Continue Their Quest to Completely Revamp The Wesley Chapel Hot Spot

New Family Entertainment Complex Will Include Enhanced Video Game Areas and Mini Golf

When the parent company of Cobb Theatres and CineBistro, filed for bankruptcy in April, it was the end of an Era for the popular Cobb Theatre in Wesley Chapel, but also a new beginning for the blossoming Entertainment Spot.

Developer Mark Gold has a big vision for the area and is remaking the popular 85,000-sq.-ft. movie theater into something that he says will be bigger and better.

“I am bringing something for the whole family,” he says. And, don’t worry, he adds, the new project will still be a movie theater, it’ll just be, “unlike any you have seen before.”

They will create new landscaping outside and a mini-golf course that will make an area for people to gather and enjoy a whole evening of entertainment.

Gold says the entire facility will be redesigned, reimagined, and most important, rejuvenated. “This is going to be an entertainment complex like no other,” says Tom Peck, the director of operations for The Grove Theater (working title).

The large arcade area — which, in most theaters, is just a small room set off to the side with a dozen or so games set up — will replace the current lobby, with games designed for teens and adults in one area, and games for younger players in another. 

At least one or two of the movie theaters will be modified to serve as a “kids zone,” with things like bean bag chairs and sofas for those watching the movie and a play area for those who’d rather climb through tubes and tunnels. The kids theater will be ideal, Gold says, for parents looking to watch a movie or enjoy dinner while their children watch something more suitable for their age.

Gold says he also is considering converting one theater into a ninja-style obstacle course for younger kids.

The other movie theaters will carry the latest Hollywood releases and will be fitted with newer, and more comfortable, leather reclining chairs. There will be VIP theaters, will full-fledged dining options like the old CineBistro model. “The name won’t be there,” Peck says, “but the same concept will continue.”

There will be a sushi restaurant upstairs and one with more traditional American/theater food options below.

You Still Have To Feel Safe

Gold says he is most pleased, however, with his plans to ensure safety in an era where the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything about the way the world does business. There will be State-of-the-art cleaning equipment employed to keep the theater virus-free. There will be hospital-grade fog machines and ultraviolet lights to disinfect walls, floors, handles, seats and the air in between each movie, and temperature monitors at the front door that will keep those showing coronavirus symptoms from entering. 

Social distancing will be implemented, as will face masks, depending on the state of the virus when the theater opens.

“Our theater will be extremely safe,” Peck says. “It will have things in there no other company has ever been able to do because of the (costs associated with the) large number of theaters they control.” 

Gold says he is still playing the long game with his safety measures because there will still be plenty of other germs out there and families will be looking to stay safer than ever in the future.

“Everyone is going to want to feel safer, more secure,” Gold says. “Even 2-4 years down the road. The idea is we will be much safer than your grocery store. This place will be 3,4, 5-times safer because we are taking all these steps.”

Only with these safety measures, Gold says, can he see his vision fulfilled, where families come out to play a round of miniature golf, enjoy dinner together, see a movie and play some games afterward. Instead of two hours in a theater, families can spend 4-5 hours enjoying a night of entertainment.

“It will have everything in one complex,” Gold says. “At a normal movie theater, maybe you go eat before you come, then see the movie and go somewhere else after. But, this will have everything. It’s going to be a real destination spot.”

The theater renovations, which Peck says could be completed sometime in September, are another part of a massive project at The Grove, which Gold purchased last September for $62.7 million. 

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