contractor

PERMANENT CLOSURE: A contractor pulls a cart with cinema chairs out of MovieTowne, Chaguanas, at Price Plaza yesterday as businessman Derek Chin, who owns the cinema chain, said his board and the Price Plaza landlord, Endeavour Holdings Ltd, negotiated for three weeks to facilitate the cinema staying in the Central borough but they were not successful. 

—Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

MOVIEGOERS in Central Trinidad will have to find alternative options as the owner of MovieTowne, Chaguanas, announced that the entertainment facility would permanently close its doors.

MovieTowne owner Derek Chin decided to close the Chaguanas branch of the cinema franchise after negotiations with his landlord were not resolved to the businessman’s satisfaction.

Chin told the Express that his board and Endeavour Holdings Ltd have been in talks for close to three weeks in order to reach common ground but that did not happen.

“When we announced the closure on October 11, the landlord called us in to hold discussions but after intense negotiations with them we have been unable to resolve our status at the Chaguanas branch. As a result, MovieTowne has made a final decision to close down permanently and to remove its assets and presence from Price Plaza Mall.”

Chin said after operating for ten years in the Chaguanas area, it was a difficult decision to make and he was hoping for a positive outcome.

“What the landlord was not understanding is that the cinema industry is severely being impacted by Covid-19 and the financial constrains caused by the shutdown imposed earlier this year. We cannot afford to go back to the normal rent in a year’s time. It is going to take some time for the industry to rebuild and for patrons to start coming back to the cinemas.”

Chin also outlined that he started to see a decline in revenue from 2018, due to state of the economy and also crime in the Chaguanas borough that was increasing.

“The cinema industry is also being affected by Netflix movies and other movie-streaming technology, the difficulty in getting movies on timely basis because of the rampant outbreak in the United of States, so the studios are not putting out anything new and that affects our cinemas in T&T.”

The MovieTowne owner said the process of dismantling equipment started from yesterday morning and by December 15,2020 they will be completely out of the space they occupied for ten years.

Chin reopened the other cinemas at Port of Spain and C3 at San Fernando last Wednesday, after the green light was given by the Prime Minister, for operating at 50 per cent capacity.

Also commenting on the closure was Chaguanas Chamber president Vishnu Charran, who said he was holding on to hope that the discussions between MovieTowne and Endeavour Holdings Ltd would have ended with patrons being able to go back and watch a movie with their family and loved ones.

Charran said it is a huge loss for Chin as he made a sizeable investment for the space he occupied in Price Plaza.

The chamber president said he shared the same sentiments as the MovieTowne owner that the economy, since 2018, has been in on a downward spiral and businesses have been suffering a loss of revenue and with the impact of Covid it has made it tough.

“The Government has to understand the needs of good policy planning and visionary leadership to really help pull this country. This administration has to create job opportunities and pay businesses their taxes so that they can survive,” Charran added.

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