By JOHN DEMPSEY, Kokomo Tribune staff writer

“Final Destination 3” will end around 9:15 Thursday night.

When the curtain closes on the slasher/thriller, it also will mark the final curtain call in Markland Mall Cinemas’ 38-year history.

Kerasotes Theatres will close the five-screen complex in advance of the opening of ShowPlace 12 at the Kokomo Mall in early May, according to Dean Kerasotes, the company’s chief operating officer.

“We anticipate the new 12-plex opening up in the first half of May. We don’t have an exact date, but we are making very good progress on the theater,” he said. “The Kokomo Mall Cinemas will stay open until we open up the new complex.”

Workers will begin removing equipment from the Markland Mall location next week.

“It’s going take us two to three weeks to remove all our equipment from the facility. The guys removing the equipment are the same ones who are putting the equipment into the new place,” Kerasotes said. “It’s work flow and some lease issues, too. It’s just a matter of time and clearing out of the physical plant.”

Employees of Markland Mall Cinemas will work at Kokomo Mall Cinemas until the new complex opens.

Opened in late 1968 as a United Artists theater, Markland Mall Cinemas is one of the mall’s original occupants. Goodrich Quality Theaters assumed the lease in the mid-1980s and Kerasotes took over in 1990.

“Goodrich remodeled it and made it a five-plex and redid the seating and decor,” Kerasotes said.

The new Kokomo Mall complex is one of three the company will open in the spring and early summer across the Midwest with two more scheduled for fall openings. By the end of the year, it will have 78 locations with 670 screens.

“I think people will really enjoy the new complex. It will have beautiful pictures, big screens and state-of-the-art sound,” said Kerasotes, who is the family’s third generation to run the business founded in 1909. “The sound and pictures are the same as what we put in our fanciest theaters in the biggest cities we’ve got.”

Simon Malls is working to fill the space soon with another entertainment business, said Stacey Nance, area director of mall marketing.

“It’s an opportunity for us. We’ve been actively pursuing something else to go in there,” she said. “We feel very confident that what will take its place will occur in the next week or so.”

As far as the former Macy’s/Lazarus anchor in the middle of the mall, work continues to find a tenant.

“With that vacancy, we’re looking at other opportunities and uses to put something in there,” Nance said. “It might be another big box store or it might be breaking the space down into smaller spaces for smaller tenants.

“We’re working with corporate leasing to fill that spot.”

Currently, Lunar Mini-Golf is operating in part of the space in the center court area of the former store. Lunar Mini-Golf is a miniature golf program with 32 holes that operates under black lights.

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