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Regal Goes Dark Nationwide, What Happens To The Massive Buildings Left Behind?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Regal, the nation's second-largest movie theater chain, is closing down — at least for now.

Moviegoers are getting their last flicks in as Regals across the country are shutting down with no official reopening date.

"That's something I'll miss the most, meeting with the guests," said Phil Lloren.

He's shocked, in total disbelief to learn Regal is closing down. He's worked at Regal for four years and doesn't know when he'll be welcomed back.

"It happens, when it happens," he said.

Movie studios are delaying dozens of big releases, and less than two months after theaters were allowed to start reopening across the country, now they don't have any new films to show.

READ: Tower Theatre Reopening On Thursday With Alfred Hitchcock Marathon

"Just seeing the smiles and excitement of the guests coming into the theatre, and to anticipate new releases," said Lloren.

The closures are temporary, but economic experts say it's likely at least some Regals won't be able to survive this closure and will close down for good.

"You're talking about these large spaces that were utilized, and now they're basically sitting there vacant," said Sanjay Varshnay, Economic Expert with Sacramento State.

Chris Aguirre, who works in Commercial Real Estate with Capital Rivers, says the space could be repurposed if Regal shuts down for good. He says filling 20 to 50,000 square feet is a big job, but one there's already interest in.

"Some of the more creative ideas are looking at using it for self-storage, or tear it down and use it for multi-family, it's a pretty big space," he said.

In the meantime, it's bad news for neighboring businesses that rely on this anchor property to drive people to the area.

"If the anchor tenant, the one that's driving the traffic to that shopping center or mall, these other tenants are reliant upon that traffic," he said.

What could make up this space, if there is an eventual closure, will also be up to city leaders.

According to their website, the Regal at Delta Shores is staying open at this time, Natomas and El Dorado Hills Regal Cinemas will close after Thursday evening.

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