Movie theater operator Silverspot has signed on as the anchor tenant at Rock Spring Centre, a 1 million square foot town center project in Bethesda, according to developer The Peterson Cos.
Silverspot, a division of Venezuelan Cines Unidos, will operate a 12-screen theater featuring independent and foreign films as well as first-run blockbusters. The theater will come complete with a full-service cafe and bar as well as a lounge area.
The 50,000 square foot multiplex, scheduled to open spring 2014, will be the company’s third location in the United States — the others are in Miami and Naples, Fla.
“It’s a phenomenal theater that really sets the cornerstone for the entertainment aspect for the project,” said Taylor Chess, senior vice president of retail for Fairfax-based Peterson Cos.
“What we’re trying to create with Rock Spring is a gathering spot, a hub for all of the office and residential adjacent to the project. It’s a true lifestyle core for an area that is very fragmented right now.”
Located along Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive in Bethesda, Rock Spring Centre is slated to break ground this summer with completion in spring 2014. Plans call for 210,000 square feet of retail, a 50,000 square foot cinema, a 200-room hotel, 161 apartments, 550,000 square feet of offices and 40,000 square foot health club.
Peterson Cos., developers of National Harbor, is working on the $320 million project with DRI Development Services. In February, Peterson Cos. acquired 90 percent of the retail and entertainment portion as well as 10 percent of the rest of Rock Spring Centre from DRI.
Plans for Rock Spring Centre have been in the works for years, but the project stalled in the face of legal hurdles and a down economy. The county gave DRI the thumbs up on the project in February 2011.
Since Peterson Cos. announced its partnership with DRI, Chess said the developers have received great interest from restaurants and retailers. While there are a few letters of intent floating around, the senior vice president said there are no signed leases at this point.
Chess is aiming for a mix of local and national tenants at Rock Spring Centre that “are different than what you might find at Montgomery Mall or in a power center.”
Silverspot will face stiff competition once it lands at Rock Spring Centre. A bevy of movie theaters are suddenly headed for Rockville Pike.
In White Flint, the Pike & Rose development by Federal Realty Investment Trust will bring the first iPic luxury movie theater to the region, featuring eight screens and 90 to 120 seats. Nearby, the JBG Cos. also plans to sign a movie theater for the second phase of its North Bethesda Market project, though the company has not yet announced an operator.
Bill Miller, who represented the Rock Spring Centre development team, said the design and location of the Bethesda project will give it an edge over the competition.
“As oppose to the other two projects, we are not on Rockville Pike, which is congested and will become more so in the future,” he said. “That will be appealing to residents of North Bethesda and Potomac, who we are catering to.”
-Jonathan O’Connell contributed to this article.