Theater club

BJ’s Wholesale Club planned for River City Marketplace in Jacksonville

After 16 years, the screens at the Regal River City Marketplace are set to go dark and the multiplex demolished, making way for a new wholesale club at the North Jacksonville site.

According to plans submitted to the St. Johns Water Management District this month, River City Marketplace owner RPT Realty wants to raze the 60,000-square-foot building and build a BJ’s Wholesale Club and gas station. service of 103,000 square feet.

The 14-screen theater complex is always open, showing a full slate of movies, including summer blockbusters “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Lightyear,” “Jurassic World Dominion,” and others.

No closure schedule was available. Requests for comment from Regal and RPT Realty were not immediately returned.

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The store would be the fourth for BJ’s in northeast Florida, including clubs at 8046 Philips Highway and 12200 Atlantic Blvd. in Jacksonville and a third at 560 Blanding Blvd. at Orange Park.

And it would only be the second of its kind on the north side of town. A Sam’s Club operates just over five miles away at 300 Busch Drive.

Regal River City Marketplace, also known as Hollywood Theatres, could close and be demolished as part of a plan by mall owner Northside to develop a BJ's Wholesale Club on the site.

Regal River City Marketplace opened as Hollywood Theaters in November 2006 in the first wave of openings at the sprawling outdoor market near Jacksonville International Airport, attracting major retailers and restaurants to the area in full growth. (The Hollywood Theaters name remains at the top of the building.)

It was the first (and only) multiplex in Northside, which has a population of more than 115,000 within 7 miles of River City Marketplace, according to marketing materials from RPT Realty.

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The theater closure and demolition, however, would be the second this year for Regal in the Jacksonville market.

In February, a permit was issued for the demolition of Regal Beach Boulevard 18 to make way for the construction of 334 apartments by the Texas real estate developer Presidium.

The theater, like others in Jacksonville and across the country, temporarily closed in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. In October 2020, Regal’s parent company announced that it would temporarily close all of its theaters, including the three in Jacksonville. But when Regal reopened its theaters in May 2021, the Beach Boulevard site remained closed, its fate sealed by a rezoning approval that paved the way for demolition.

A decade before the multiplex opened in River City, Regal introduced the concept of stadium seating to Jacksonville with the opening of Regal’s Beach Boulevard 12, which offered the seating configuration in four of its theaters. The complex later expanded to 18 theaters, all with stadium seating.