New West OC Theater Opening Pushed To Spring

New West OC Theater Opening Pushed To Spring
The new movie theater will occupy the former home of Michaels. The site was once a movie theater. Photo by Bethany Hooper

WEST OCEAN CITY – Despite delays in the design and permitting process, officials with Flagship Cinemas said the construction of a new movie theater at the White Marlin Mall will be completed by spring.

Last May, Flagship Cinemas – a private company that owns and operates movie theaters in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida – announced the opening of a new location at the White Marlin Mall in West Ocean City.

The movie theater will take over the space previously occupied by Michaels, which opened at its new location at Ocean Landings II, a commercial development behind McDonald’s, earlier this year.

In an interview with The Dispatch last May, Flagship Cinemas President Paul Wenger said he had hoped the movie theater would open in late 2018 or early 2019. Last week, however, he reported that the facility was now on track to be completed by spring.

“At this point, all appears to be in good shape and we will be open by May unless something catastrophic happens,” he said.

Wenger attributed delays to the planning and designing phase.

“None of it had to do with construction,” he said. “It had to do with getting the architectural plans and permitting in place. The county has been great to work with, but it’s a process that you have to wait for.”

Despite the setback, Wenger said he felt comfortable that construction would finish within the new timeframe.

“It has not felt unusually long, but the process is the process,” he said. “There is no point in rushing it.”

He noted that stud walls were up, rough-ins were completed and drywall would be installed in the coming weeks.

“It’s nearing about half way to completion …,” Wenger said. “It’s all the boring stuff right now, but things are progressing and it’s exciting to see.”

Officials said the new facility will feature several movie theaters, hot foods, self-serve sodas, power reclining seats and a Film Fanatic program that rewards frequent customers with free movies.

Flagship Cinemas and its sister company, Triton Entertainment Services, own and operate five movie theaters in Maryland, including three on the Eastern Shore.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.