Houston-Based Operator Will Preserve Theater’s Iconic Legacy While Enhancing the Theater-Going Experience; Deal Marks the First Step in Kimco’s Long-Term Revitalization of the River Oaks Shopping Center
Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM) announced today that it has signed a lease with River Oaks Theater, Inc., an affiliate of Star Cinema Grill, a Houston-based dine-in-theater concept, to operate the historic River Oaks Theater. The new operator plans to preserve the theater’s history and Art Deco design, as well as its name, River Oaks Theater, while also enhancing the cinema experience with a focus on unmatched hospitality, high-quality food and beverages, flawless presentation, and other cutting-edge theater amenities.
“We are excited about our relationship with Kimco and the many other new partnerships that will play a vital role in the long-term success of the River Oaks Theater,” says Omar Khan, President & CEO, River Oaks Theater. “Being a part of the Houston community is something we take great pride in, and as the only locally owned and operated movie theater group, we feel very fortunate to further expand our roots within our hometown,” says Khan.
Kimco Realty, which acquired the River Oaks Shopping Center in August of 2021 after its merger with Weingarten Realty, is crafting a long-term vision for the site that will restore its place as a beloved and celebrated Houston destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
The River Oaks Theater plans to operate as an arthouse cinema, paying homage to the theater’s rich history with classic features such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and hosting various film festivals, ensuring that Houston movie buffs old and new will still have access to this important cinematic gem.
“We are thrilled to have found an operator who shares our passion for the history of this theater, appreciates our vision for this shopping center, and truly understands the River Oaks community and the desires of its residents,” said Andrew Bell, Vice President of Leasing for Kimco Realty. “This deal is a building block for the ongoing evolution of the River Oaks Shopping Center. We are incredibly pleased with the progress we’ve made to date, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the City of Houston and the community of River Oaks as we invest in and reposition this flagship asset for future generations of Houstonians.”
“The River Oaks Theater is a historical and cultural pillar in the city of Houston. We are pleased and grateful that with the help of the city, all parties were able to come together to ensure Houstonians will once again have their favorite and most treasured theater back open soon,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I thank Kimco, Omar Khan, Friends of the River Oaks Theater and all the cinema lovers for coming together to save this cherished landmark.”
“After a solid year’s effort to save this architectural and cultural landmark, our community-based nonprofit group, Friends of the River Oaks Theater, is eager to assist Kimco and the new River Oaks Theater team in preserving the theater’s value to the Houston arts community,” said Maureen McNamara, community member and Friends of the River Oaks Theater spokesperson. “This is a gift to Houston’s cultural center, and as true friends of the theater, we are in this for the long haul. We look forward to applying our knowledge of the film community and of historic and independent cinemas to collaborate with all involved on our shared vision for the theater’s bright future.”
“So many of us grew up watching timeless films at the River Oaks Theater – it’s the last of its kind in Houston,” stated Houston City Council Member Abbie Kamin. “A lot went into ensuring the preservation of the theater for future generations. From the unwavering commitment of residents, the organizing of Friends of River Oaks Theater, to Mayor Turner’s involvement and support of our efforts. We have a committed partner in Kimco who sees the theater for what it is – a historic treasure that will inspire Houstonians for years to come.”
Kimco Realty (NYSE:KIM) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) headquartered in Jericho, N.Y. that is North America’s largest publicly traded owner and operator of open-air, grocery-anchored shopping centers and mixed-use assets. The company’s portfolio is primarily concentrated in the first-ring suburbs of the top major metropolitan markets, including those in high-barrier-to-entry coastal markets and rapidly expanding Sun Belt cities, with a tenant mix focused on essential, necessity-based goods and services that drive multiple shopping trips per week. Kimco is also committed to leadership in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and is a recognized industry leader in these areas. Publicly traded on the NYSE since 1991, and included in the S&P 500 Index, the company has specialized in shopping center ownership, management, acquisitions, and value enhancing redevelopment activities for more than 60 years. As of September 30, 2021, the company owned interests in 545 U.S. shopping centers and mixed-use assets comprising 94 million square feet of gross leasable space. For further information, please visit www.kimcorealty.com
About River Oaks Theater
River Oaks Theater, Inc., is an affiliate of the Star Cinema Grill Group, a Houston-based dine-in-theater concept which currently operates eleven movie theaters in Texas and Illinois. River Oaks Theater, Inc. plans to preserve the theater’s rich history and Art Deco design, as well as its name, River Oaks Theater, while also enhancing the cinema experience with a focus on unmatched hospitality, high-quality food and beverages, flawless presentation, and other cutting-edge theater amenities.