BJ's Wholesale Club is coming to River City Marketplace. That means a movie theater's days could be numbered

·2 min read
Regal River City Marketplace, also known as Hollywood Theaters, will be the new home of BJ's Wholesale Club, according to plans submitted by the Northside retail center's owners. The movie theater complex remains open for now.
Regal River City Marketplace, also known as Hollywood Theaters, will be the new home of BJ's Wholesale Club, according to plans submitted by the Northside retail center's owners. The movie theater complex remains open for now.

After 16 years, the screens at 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 103,000-square-foot BJ’s Wholesale Club and gas station.

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

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

New restaurants at River City: P.F. Chang's To Go, Texas Roadhouse and Aloha Waffle Bar coming to North Jacksonville retail hub

Celebrating 15 years: North Jacksonville's largest shopping center, River City Marketplace thriving

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. in Orange Park.

And it would be just the second of its kind on the city’s Northside. A Sam’s Club operates just over five miles away, at 300 Busch Drive.

Regal River City Marketplace, also known as Hollywood Theaters, could close and be demolished under a plan by the Northside retail center's owner to develop a BJ's Wholesale Club at the site.
Regal River City Marketplace, also known as Hollywood Theaters, could close and be demolished under a plan by the Northside retail center's owner to develop a BJ's Wholesale Club at the site.

Regal River City Marketplace opened as Hollywood Theaters in November 2006 in the first wave of openings at the sprawling, open-air marketplace near Jacksonville International Airport, bringing major retailers and restaurants to the growing area. (The Hollywood Theaters name remains atop the building.)

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

Now showing: A look at new and long-gone movie theaters in Jacksonville

Due up for demolition: After Berkman demolition, more high-profile Jacksonville buildings to come down this year

The closing and demolition of the theater, though, 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 Texas-based real estate developer Presidium.

The theater, like others in Jacksonville and across the nation, 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 location remained closed, its fate sealed by a rezoning approval that paved the way to demolition.

A decade before the opening of the multiplex at River City, Regal brought the stadium seating concept 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.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: BJ's Wholesale Club planned for Jacksonville's River City Marketplace