MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Malco Majestic in Hickory Hill is being sold, and what’s coming soon will be more than just movies.
Malco Majestic was put up for sale just as film producer Marie Pizano was looking for space to start a movie production studio.
“This just happened to be a godsend. We have 20 acres or so and the 80,000 square foot building,” Pizano said.
She didn’t know businessman Darnell Stitts was also looking at the same site for a new electric vehicle showroom.
“Surrounded by a food court, bowling alley, skating rink and so forth,” said Stitts, who is CEO of ATWEC Technologies.
Majestic’s owner suggested the two work together and a one-of-a-kind entertainment complex began to take shape. They call it something like Memphis has never seen.
“It’s like Universal Studios, Stax, Time Warner all in one,” Pizano said.
They are buying the theater and the 18 acres surrounding it. Right now, all the old equipment and movie props are being tossed out and much of the inside will be made over.
Phase 1 includes a dining area, theater and event center. It is set for opening in July.
“Right here we will have our piano. We will have performances here,” said Pizano as she showed us through the building.
Movies will still be shown, but also a lot more. Some theater rooms will become movie sets.
“We are gonna close this in. This is our café area where cast and crew are going to be able to eat,” said Pizano as she pointed out one of the rooms.
Stitts is working to open Phase 2 by the Fall. It will include a sports complex with indoor soccer fields, batting areas and a sports bar.
“It would be a place where you could actually bring your family and basically have a good time with a variety of things,” Stitts said.
A third partner will build a new hotel on the massive parking lot. In all, it’s a $50 million project expected to create 600 jobs. Developers are seeking grants and tax incentives.
They hope to put Memphis on the map as a movie making city.
“I think we are gonna be a force to be reckoned with,” Pizano said.
Saturday the partners will give city leaders a presentation about the development. They hope to get the city’s support and stamp of approval.