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Theater chain sells Ronnie’s Plaza shopping center

The chain will still retain ownership of the movie theater real estate that anchors the strip mall.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Marcus Theatres has sold the Ronnie’s Plaza shopping center in south St. Louis County, while retaining ownership of the movie theater real estate that anchors the strip mall.

Milwaukee-based Marcus Theatres, a division of publicly traded Marcus Corp. (NYSE: MCS), sold the shopping center, anchored by Ronnie’s Cinema, to Brentwood-based Savoy Properties in a deal that closed Dec. 27 for an undisclosed price, the companies said. Marcus acquired the property in 2016 when it bought St. Louis-based Wehrenberg Theatres. Ronnie’s Plaza, at 5320 S. Lindbergh Blvd., had an appraised value of $9 million last year, down from $11.2 million in 2020, according to St. Louis County records.

Built at the site of Ronnie’s Drive-In, which Wehrenberg opened in the 1940s and demolished in the 1980s to make way for the shopping center and movie theater, Ronnie’s Cinema is one of the most profitable of Marcus’ 85 theaters nationwide, the company said. The theater consistently ranks as one of the company’s top three for sales, said Marcus Senior Vice President of Real Estate Katie Falvey

“It’s been a destination in the community there for so many years, so we have absolutely no motivation to sell the theater. But the shopping center is different,” Falvey told the Business Journal this week. “At Marcus we’ve been in business for 85 years, and over all those decades we’ve acquired quite a bit of real estate, and we always just make decisions on what to do with our various real estate holdings based on timing and market dynamics. It seemed that the time was right to separate the plaza property from the theater and sell off the plaza.” 

While Marcus owns shopping centers in other cities, Ronnie’s Plaza was the company’s only real estate in St. Louis outside of its movie theaters, a Marcus spokesperson said. The company owns about half its nine theater buildings in St. Louis. 

Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.