Less than two months after completing its $1.2 billion acquisition of Carmike Cinemas, AMC Entertainment Holdings has put the former Columbus-based movie theater company’s headquarters building up for sale.
The property, located at 1301 1st Ave. in downtown Columbus, just off the heavily trafficked 13th Street corridor, had served as the corporate office of Carmike Cinemas since being built in 1986. Leawood, Kan.-based AMC wrapped up its purchase of Carmike in mid-December, making it the largest theater company in the world.
A sign placed recently in front of the glass-covered structure lists JLL — which is Chicago-based commercial real-estate company Jones Lang LaSalle — as the entity that is seeking a buyer for AMC. The sign says that more than 65,000 square feet of Class A office space is available on the site. City tax records indicate that the office complex totals 85,781 square feet of space.
Brad Armstrong, a senior managing director with JLL, said the firm’s Atlanta office is handling the marketing of the prime property in Columbus. He and Noel Steinfeld, a director with JLL’s Atlanta office, referred all questions to AMC, which did not return phone and email requests for comment on Thursday. Armstrong lives in Harris County and has a number of key local clients, including TSYS and Aflac, the firm’s website says.
City records list the market value of the former headquarters structure, which has five stories and sits on 1.65 acres, at $4,325769. The property includes a two-level parking area with 72 surface spaces and 78 covered spaces.
Jones Lang LaSalle also is marketing another former Carmike Cinemas property at 301 13th St., two blocks east of the headquarters complex at the intersection of Third Avenue. That 22,254-square-foot building, constructed in 1965, was primarily used as a storage warehouse by Carmike Cinemas, with it holding items such as theater seats. Considered Class B space, the city’s tax office lists the property with a market value of about $590,000.
As the $1.2 billion deal between AMC and Carmike was moving through the acquisition pipeline, there has been speculation that the headquarters complex could be used for everything from loft apartments or an upscale hotel to a mixed-use office and retail/restaurant hub.
Ed Adams, a commercial broker with Coldwell Banker Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Davis in Columbus, said he doubts that pure office space is the way the property will be used in the future. He said there’s already excess office space in the local market.
“TSYS and Synovus both have been doing a very good job lately making sure they have very efficient use of their space,” he said. “That’s put a little office space on the market in the uptown area. And we’ve got some other properties around town that through consolidation — not necessarily people closing, but a shifting of the market — we’ve got some excess space. A lot of people have come downtown and moved into Swift Mill (and other buildings) and that’s left some space on the other side of town.”
Another factor in the Carmike Cinemas structure, Adams said, is that it was constructed three decades ago before the trend of open-air office spaces came into vogue. He said the building has plenty of offices with windows, but the center of it is more maze-like with lots of walls and hallways. But he also believes that one or two levels of indoor space could be added atop the existing parking areas.
“There’s a lot of opportunity, but it’s really going to take a very creative mind to come in there and see what it can be,” he said of the sale and redevelopment of the property. “Could it be hotel rooms? I don’t know. Could it be converted to condos or some kind of mixed-use where you have condos (above) and retail at the bottom? ... The great thing about Columbus is we have people here locally that enjoy thinking about stuff like that.”