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Kokueikan, Grand Orion to get facelifts

Date Posted: 2002-11-24

Naha’s two movie theaters, Kokueikan and Grand Orion that were closed at the end of September, will get facelifts and converted to multi-purpose entertainment centers, according to their owner Kokuba Gumi. The new Cinemas Q multi-screen theater complex in Naha Main Place shopping complex in Omoromachi replaced the two venerable theaters.

According to Kokuba Gumi President Koichi Kokuba, Kokueikan with its dome-style ceiling design will be made into a beer hall. It will also house a restaurant, game center and shopping mall. Grand Orion will be renovated into a movie theater that specializes in old, classic movies.

According to Kokuba, the plan is a part of Kokusai Street revitalizing project. “The business in the Kokusai Street area is down as people flock to new areas outside the city. We have to do something to bring customers back to this area,” Kokuba said. “For example, Kokueikan has a stage, so we can have dinner shows, concerts, entertainment, dancing, almost anything to attract people.” He said that Kokueikan is scheduled to be opened in its new form in 2004, Grand Orion should be back in business as early as summer 2003.

To finance the project the company plans to apply for a government subsidy from the “New Urban Development Fund” that was set up by the central government to finance special projects in Okinawa. The company estimates that it will cost about ¥600 million to rebuild Kokueikan. The Grand Orion renovation is estimated to cost ¥140 million.

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