A business license application has been filed with the city of Fort Smith for 7601 Rogers Ave., the former site of the MovieLounge.
According to the city’s planning and zoning department, the application has been pending and awaiting fire department approval after which it will head to the building department, a process that can generally finish within 24 hours if there aren’t any hiccups.
When asked if a June ribbon-cutting date was still realistic, Fort Smith Plans Examiner Tom Monaco told Talk Business & Politics “it could be” if there are no issues with the application. Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, revealed plans to reopen the MovieLounge under the same name at a mayoral debate last month.
Referring to one of the young men he’d mentored during his career, McGill said the unnamed man would reopen the facility and he (McGill) would “let the young man,” a 34-year-old, get into the details of it. But the facility would “cut a ribbon in June” and the business name would be the same, McGill said. However, the name of the business on the business license application is “The Carter.” It is signed by a woman named Sarah Guillory on behalf of corporate business name The Carter Investment Firm, LLC.
According to the Arkansas Secretary of State website, The Carter Investment Firm’s principal address is 1719 N. 8th St. in Fort Smith. The listed “incorporator/organizer” is Carlos Diaz, and the firm is listed as in “good standing.” Business Filings Incorporated at 124 West Capitol Ave., Suite 1900, in Little Rock is listed as Agent. The filing date with the SOS is Jan. 19, 2018, while the Fort Smith business license application was initially submitted on Feb. 8, 2018.
The phone number on the application was redacted by the city of Fort Smith, but a building official provided a number in a phone conversation on Tuesday (June 12). However, the number was not set up to take calls. As submitted, Guillory’s application states the business will be “a 5-star restaurant, bar, and movie theater” with approximately 20 employees. Additionally, the application’s business description states “There will be no changes to existing Restaurant and Bar.”
Dwight Curry opened the original MovieLounge in 2012 but closed the doors on Oct. 1, 2017. At the time, Curry said he had “enjoyed building the concept, and it really has been fun.”
Until recently, the property was available for lease or redevelopment through Nunnelee & Wright Commercial Properties. Including the general manager, the MovieLounge employed 20 during its four years of operation. Prior to the MovieLounge opening, the building at 7601 Rogers Ave. was the home of Circuit City, which closed its doors in 2009.
When first constructed, the MovieLounge included a 115-seat restaurant, banquet area that could seat 235 and three 40-60 person theaters. The about $2.6 million project also included two “high-end, luxury” movie screens capable of seating 85 each, along with a smaller third theater space that had “box seat” furnishings in a 750-square-foot space with a 15-foot screen that was geared for corporate events, Super Bowl parties, and other intimate gatherings.