Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stranded at the De Anza Drive-In

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Damn, we're not ready for this weekend to be the last Saturday at the De Anza Drive-In. Can you make it next weekend? Please?

The local daily confirmed what we all knew was inevitable since it was first announced last year that a development company was interested in the property for a commercial project. I was sorry to read in the story that the property won't even be developed right away, but the drive-in will still close. Evidently, it's just not financially viable. I don't have time this weekend to say good-bye, or re-create that night when my cousins put me in the trunk of their car and snuck me in to see Up in Smoke. Sigh.

What will replace Tucson’s last drive-in theater remains unclear, although it will almost certainly be some kind of retail complex.

“We really don’t have a plan,” said Gregg Alpert, Evergreen’s managing principal. “We do not have any immediate plans to develop it. We just like the property. Its infill location and heavy traffic count make it an intriguing purchase for us. But we are going to take our time to develop it.”

Evergreen is known for creating “neighborhood marketplaces” with grocery store anchors. Its projects in the Old Pueblo include Steam Pump Village in Oro Valley, Madera Marketplace in Sahuarita, several Walgreens stores and a grocery store project on the southwest side’s Yaqui reservation.

Los Angeles-based De Anza Land and Leisure Corp. purchased the old drive-in theater in 1977 when it was called the Cactus Drive-In.

Today the theater is in need of numerous costly improvements and the company had to sell it, Teri Oldknow, senior vice president for De Anza Land and Leisure, said in a written statement.

“The closing comes at a critical decision point for the business — in the near future, De Anza Land and Leisure would have to make major capital investments in the infrastructure of the drive-in which was not financially feasible for us,” Oldknow said.

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