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 [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration

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Thierry le Disneyen

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MessageSujet: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Sam 14 Juil - 17:21

Voici une petite visite de la ville Floridienne ( ex propriété de Disney )
-l'école:


-La salle de sport:


-l'université Stetson:


-le centre de formation des  profs:


-Le centre médical:


-Quelques appartements:


-Quelques maisons:



-quelques villas:



-Market street (la rue commerciale):




-Market street cafe:


-l'un des espaces détentes:




-Cinéma AMC(au passage Dunkerque est la seule ville de France à avoir son AMC   )


-Celebration Hôtel:




Dernière édition par Thierry le Disneyen le Dim 23 Avr - 18:27, édité 2 fois
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Thierry le Disneyen

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Sam 14 Juil - 17:22

-Celebration Hôtel:



-L'agence immobilière:



-La poste:


-L'une des boutiques de Celebration:


Pour en savoir plus:
-http://www.celebrationfl.com/
-http://www.celebrationhealth.com/chstory/imaging_center/index.html


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Cobain

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 15 Juil - 13:07

Cette ville me fait un peut flipper quand-même, tout est trop beau, trop propre et surtout trop "bien pensante"!


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L

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 22 Juil - 14:54

Pourquoi c'est tout vide? c'est une cité dortoir à mon avis. Ca m'attire pas du tout, bien que certains éléments architecturaux soient superbes.
Moi j'aime les trottoirs défoncés et les pavés de Lille (n'est-ce pas Cobain59...)


Mario, numéro un au Japon en 2010 d'après Yahoo! Japan
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Nightc0der

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 22 Juil - 15:03

Pour completer l'excellente présentation de Thierry je vous communique quelques liens complémentaires :

- Des vidéos consacrées à Celebration sont disponibles sur cette page, avec notamment une visite caméra embarquée dans les rues de la ville lors de mon séjour en 2006.

- Une galerie photos à cette adresse, avec des photos prises toujours lors du même séjour. Dans les premières photos vous découvrirez l'intérieur d'une maison témoin que nous avions visité.


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Cobain

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 22 Juil - 18:23

@L a écrit:
Pourquoi c'est tout vide? c'est une cité dortoir à mon avis. Ca m'attire pas du tout, bien que certains éléments architecturaux soient superbes.
Moi j'aime les trottoirs défoncés et les pavés de Lille (n'est-ce pas Cobain59...)

Bien d'accord avec toi, rien ne vaut les magnifiques façades et les rues pavées du Vieux Lille Very Happy ! Ce qui me gêne à Celebration c'est le côté synthétique, avec rien qui dépasse, etc... C'est sympa quand on se rend aux parcs mais de là à vivre dans un univers aussi parfait ça me fout les boules...


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Thierry le Disneyen

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 22 Juil - 18:53

perso j'adore Very Happy


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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Lun 23 Juil - 22:11

+1 Thierry Wink



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OLIVIER

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Mar 24 Juil - 14:29

C'est bizarre, sur pleins de photos on dirait trop Papeete...
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Lun 27 Aoû - 16:30

je me demandais s il y avais un sujet consacré à cette ville dans le forum, j ai fait recherché et oui ... trouvé!
j ai decouverte cette ville dans le reportage d un magazine recament! par contre je pensais que L'agence immobilière que t as mis en photo Thierry c était la banque américaine!!?
et selon un sondage fait aux USA c est la ville dans laquelle le plus gros pourcentage d américain aimerais y habité!!!
il parrait que c est la ville "parfaite", trés tranquille mais il y a quand meme des choses un peu bizarre!! car pour faire parfaite par exemple en automne il mette des fausse feuilles d arbres morte par terre et pareil en hiver avec la neige!!
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Thierry le Disneyen

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Lun 27 Aoû - 18:51

Voici en fait la Banque de Celebration:


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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Lun 27 Aoû - 19:56

ah... bon j ai du avoir de mauvaise source!!! Wink
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 2 Sep - 14:21

Certes la ville est un peu froide mais on y trouve des gens simples et sympathiqueq aussi, du moins en 1998... j'ai un souvenir assez drôle de notre visite en short de l'agence immobilière (l'unique à l'époque) qui vendait les maisons... On a eu le droit à tout le speech super sérieux et la projection dans une salle de cinéma privé de 30 mn vantant les mérites de la ville, puis on nous a montré les maquettes et les plans.... mais on ne voulait pas acheter, nosu étions juste en voyage de noces !!!
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 2 Sep - 23:42

Ca doit etre sympa d'aller dans cette ville Cool
On y reconnait bien le Style Disney et une maison me fait penser à la série Desperate Housewives Laughing
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Ven 19 Sep - 23:14

Juste pour compléter le topic de Thierry voici un article de wikipédia qui à mon sens résume parfaitement la ville

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebration_(Floride)

(note: le lien est troqué dû à la présence du "_" ou des parenthèses dans l'adresse, il faudra donc copié/coller le lien dans le navigateur. )

Sinon pour avoir une idée plus "intellectuelle" (dans le sens où il me semble que l'analyse y est plus poussé qu'un simple descriptif comme c'est le cas sur Wikipedia ) voici un dossier :

http://www.cybergeo.eu/index1147.html

* Mes impressions

Comme tout dossier, on y trouve les principales informations que l'on est venue chercher en le lisant. le style est travaillé (genre narratif - explicatif) et non pas une simple description comme lors d'une définition (cf.article de Wikipédia). La particularité de ces dossiers en général est qu'on y trouve en plus de l'information principales des shémas et des détails. (similitude avec Wikipédia)

C'est un dossier à consulter pour tout ceux qui veulent en savoir plus qu'une simple définition de ce qu'est Célébration.
On regrettera cependant que l'auteur du dossier n'est pas cherché plus en profondeur (organisation pratique de la ville avec les élus [qui gère ?] l'organisation privé-public avec les hôpitaux,la poste etc... et enfin une description de la société qui gère le complexe : La Celebration Company)

En complément de ce dossier, l'article sur Wikipédia reste intéressant pour voir le cheminement du projet d'EPCOT en passant par l'idée du village résidentiel. les chiffres constituent également un bon point de repère.
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Mer 16 Nov - 15:23

Désenchantement pour les propriétaires de Celebration qui subissent fuites d'eau, moisissures et pourriture. Leurs propriétés perdent de la valeur et deviennent difficiles à vendre :

http://www.wsj.com/articles/leaks-and-mold-are-ruining-the-disney-magic-in-celebration-florida-1479249246

Petite précision : Si Disney a fondé cette ville en 1994, l'entreprise n'est plus responsable de sa maintenance depuis près d'une quinzaine d'années.

Photo: Phelan Ebenhack / Zuma Press.  
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Mer 21 Déc - 11:38

Article publié dans The Economist :

Citation :
What Disney’s city of the future, built to look like the past, says about the present

OUTSIDE the white fence is all strip malls, motels and resort villages. Come off the six-lane highway at the spaghetti junction where Interstate 4 meets Highway 192, go past the ornamental water tower, and you are in Celebration, a town of the sort that America stopped building in the 1950s. Most of its 4,000 homes are small by suburban standards, jutting up against narrow streets. Children walk to school. The small downtown has no chains, apart from an obligatory Starbucks. Its 10,000-odd residents are mostly white, white-collar and Republican. In some ways it is a vision of America’s past. Yet Celebration is only 20 years old.

The town was developed by Disney as an antidote to the isolation of the suburbs. By the 1970s more Americans lived in suburbs than either in cities or in rural areas. Two decades later there were more cars than drivers in America. By the turn of the century, SUV-driving suburbanites became the majority, outnumbering rural and city folk combined. The wholesale shift to the suburbs, ever-longer commutes and the rise of shopping malls and big-box stores fractured community life, as downtowns emptied and commerce shifted to the edges of highways.

Disney offered Celebration as an antidote to all this, selling the development on nostalgia for an old-timey America where, as its adverts read, “neighbours greeted neighbours in the quiet of summer twilight”. It would be built around five cornerstones: in addition to “a sense of place” and “a sense of community”, the small town, which was planned to grow to 20,000 residents, would also offer progressive education, world-class health facilities and cutting-edge technology. Michael Eisner, who ran Disney at the time, believed it would be a “community of tomorrow”.

House mouse

Disney’s interest in town development started with its founder. In a filmed appearance on October 27th 1966, Walt Disney laid out his vision for the 27,400 acres of land he had secretly acquired in central Florida. It would include a theme park, an industrial park and an airport. At its heart would be an “experimental prototype community of tomorrow”, or EPCOT (see article). This community would have 20,000 residents, a central business district and futuristic public transport. Cars and lorries would be hidden away underground. It was planned as a showcase of modern technology and “the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise”. Two months later Disney died of lung cancer. The plan was shelved.

In 1971 Walt Disney World opened on the land. By 1985 it was home to two theme parks with a third under construction (a fourth was added later), hundreds of hotel rooms and plenty of land to spare. But changes in Florida’s environmental laws had Disney executives worried that the state would reclaim some of their property unless it was put to use. The contentious land was an alligator-infested swamp, cut off from Disney World by a highway and unsuitable for another theme park. It seemed a shame to waste it. Executives approached Mr Eisner, who was keen on urban planning, with the idea of building a town. He agreed—but only once he was convinced that it would not be yet another suburban tract of homes attached to a golf course, with the Disney logo slapped on it.

Around the time that Disney started working on its town-building project, a movement called new urbanism was taking off. Its big success came with the development of Seaside, Florida, a picturesque resort village which many years later became the setting for “The Truman Show”, a dystopian film set in a perfect town. New urbanism advocated building on a human scale, planning for walking and mixing residential and commercial zoning. Celebration’s developers set out to adapt that ethos to their town. Though brand new, the town would look like a charming mid-Atlantic city, such as Savannah, Georgia or Charleston, South Carolina.

Judged as an investment, Celebration was a blockbuster. Demand for the first set of lots was so high that Disney had to hold a lottery. Prices started at $120,000 for the smallest homes and at $300,000 for bigger ones; the median house price in the surrounding area was $80,000. Disney invested $100m in the project but it had bought the land for next to nothing. Construction was left to contractors, and money for roads and lighting came from municipal bonds that were paid back by residents.

Judged as an attempt to recreate a quasi-mythical past, things did not go so smoothly. Part of Celebration’s appeal was that it would offer a public school with a private education. “What was promised was a revolution in education,” says Lawrence Haber, whose family was the first to move into Celebration, on June 18th 1996. Disney gathered experts from Harvard and Johns Hopkins universities, among others, to design the curriculum. There would be no grades. Classes would be mixed, with children of different age groups studying together. It proved a disaster. Kids slacked off. Without test scores, parents were unable to track their children’s progress. Arguments and fist-fights broke out between parents. The school eventually separated into two more conventional public schools. Mr Haber says he might not have moved to Celebration were it not for the school. Many early settlers felt the same way. Some left.

Town cat

The promises of high technology fared little better. The original vision involved fibre-optic cables to every home. It never happened. Neither did elaborate plans that resembled an ambitious early Netflix or those for community services online. A scheme in which residents got free computers in exchange for allowing their browsing activities to be tracked fizzled out once AT&T, Disney’s corporate partner for technology in the town, realised it had no use for the data, write Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins in “Celebration, USA”, an account of their first year living in the town in the late 1990s. Only the health centre was an unequivocal hit. The hospital, run as a non-profit by the Seventh-Day Adventist church, feels like a resort hotel. It includes a gym and a spa.

Some of the early shortcomings could be put down to teething troubles. But at Celebration’s core was nostalgia, making the last two cornerstones, “sense of place” and “sense of community”, the most important. Celebration certainly feels different from the rest of American suburbia. Disney invested in building the downtown area so it would be open the day the first families moved in. It commissioned famous architects to build the town hall, the post office, the cinema and other communal buildings. It invited doctors to live in the town so there would be, for example, an optometrist. It located the town centre, quaintly, in the centre of town even though putting it by the highway would have made more economic sense.

Yet the cinema, a towering faux-art-deco edifice designed by César Pelli has been closed for several years. Locals complained that the downtown lacked basic necessities such as a hardware store or a hairdresser. The small town-centre grocery store shut too, replaced by a big-box supermarket by the highway. The downtown area, which was sold by Disney in 2004, is in poor repair. One block of flats is being entirely renovated, another is held up by wooden support columns, a third is covered with tarpaulin to prevent leaks. Residents of the downtown condominiums complain that they face huge extra fees for repairs despite having paid for maintenance. A lawsuit is in the works.

To the extent that Celebration can boast of a sense of place, it is opposition to Osceola county, of which it forms a part, where median incomes are about half as big. Celebration voted for Donald Trump; both the district and county it is in voted Democrat. Celebration is cute and orderly; the surrounding areas are covered in strip malls and fast-food chains. The median house price in Celebration is $345,700, more than twice that of the nearest town and far higher than any other settlement in the county, according to Zillow, a real-estate company.

The disparity has tugged away at the communal ethos Disney hoped to foster. Old-timers talk up shared experiences, the town foundation that helps out the poor, the many community groups. Newer residents are less enthused. Many parents send their children to private schools elsewhere, blaming an influx of kids from outside Celebration. A quarter of pupils at Celebration School and two-thirds at Celebration High School qualify for free or subsidised lunches, a proxy for poverty. Many of them come from the nearby Highway 192, where motels have turned into rent-by-the-week homes for transient minimum-wage workers.

The well-intentioned hope to recreate some version of America’s past has been defeated by the country’s present. The parks, pools and playgrounds in Celebration belong to the residents’ association and are off-limits to non-residents. Sitting on a park bench is considered trespassing. Residents complain about tourists peeking over their fences or the thousands of children from neighbouring areas who descend on them at Halloween. Celebration was founded by Disney on the principle of openness—the school and utilities are public, and the county sheriff’s office provides police patrols. Yet it has become a gated community, just without the gates.

In Disneyworld

Yet for all its failings, Celebration has changed America. It provided a prototype for mixed-use development that encouraged more permissive zoning laws, says Robert Steuteville of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Baldwin Park, a successful residential development with a commercial heart, in nearby Orlando, was a refinement of the idea. Celebration demonstrated that suburban cities could market themselves to house-buyers by evoking urbanity. These days almost all suburban developers talk about “place-making” and “urban-style” living, and fostering a sense of community. Celebration got them talking that way.

A big part of Celebration’s success came from its association with Disney. “People had an impression that if they moved their kids to a Disney town, their lawns would never get any weeds and their children would never get anything but ‘A’s,” says Peter Rummell, who led the development for Disney. Mike Harford, until November’s election the county commissioner for the district that includes Celebration, grew up in Osceola county when “there was nothing but cows.” “If it had stayed that way, I would have had to go somewhere else,” he says. In the land of fresh starts, nostalgia can be the most effective marketing pitch for a new future, in property development as in politics.
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Thierry le Disneyen

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 23 Avr - 18:27

up


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Christmas

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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 23 Avr - 18:42

Perso j'aime beaucoup !!
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Dim 23 Avr - 21:59

Je profite de ce topic pour faire part de ma petite contribution.
Y étant aller il y a 4 ans, voici quelques photos de la ville:

Photos:
 

En effet, la ville est très propre, très (trop?) calme, les topière, les décors... il y a effectivement un air de parc Disney? Cela dit la sensation sur place est assez étrange. (pour ma part en tout cas)
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MessageSujet: Re: [Ville ex propriété de Disney] Celebration Ven 6 Avr - 20:16

Le complexe de cinéma AMC de Celebration rouvrira-t-il un jour ?

Citation :
The mystery behind why a beautiful movie theater in the town created by Disney World has been closed for almost a decade

•Walt Disney World created the town of Celebration, Florida, in the mid-1990s, and its retro movie theater is the downtown's crown jewel. (Disney sold the downtown section to Lexin Capital in 2004.)

•At one time while the town was still developing, the theater doubled as a church and a site for high school graduations.

•But the theater, leased by AMC, has been closed since 2010, and the community is frustrated.

•Numerous groups from the town have tried to take over it.

It's a warm November evening in Celebration, Florida, and the town's charming downtown is mostly quiet outside of a couple of busy restaurants and a crowded ice cream shop. The quaint rows of storefronts are reminiscent of 1940s Anywhere, USA — and everything has a Floridian teal color.

Its vibe feels like a carbon copy of Main Street at Walt Disney World, and there's a good reason for that: The town was created by the iconic amusement park.

If you walk toward the end of downtown Celebration on Front Street, you'll find the town's movie theater. The marquee shines bright, and its Googie-style design gives the warm feeling of the thriving movie houses of yesteryear.

Celebration really is a town frozen in time.

But if you walk closer to the theater, there are troubling signs. For one, the marquee doesn't list any movie titles — it's just a shining, blank space. And there is zero foot traffic. In fact, the entire inside is dark.

In many ways, the theater is like Disney World itself: The closer you get to it, the more you realize it's all a well-designed facade.

How the theater helped a town come into its own

Before his death in 1966, Walt Disney dreamed of building a utopian community that would cater to the young and old while featuring amenities decades ahead of their time — self-sufficient houses powered by their own power plant, large trash tubes built underneath houses so residents wouldn't have to worry about curbside pickup, and public transportation so vast that people would have no need for cars.

He called it an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or Epcot.

But this would be one of the few ambitious undertakings Disney could not pull off while he was alive. With no one around to push his extremely expensive project forward, the dream of a city of tomorrow faded to just a section at Disney World.



Though Celebration, 10 miles from Disney World, is certainly not Disney's Epcot dream reincarnate — some see it more as something ripped from "The Truman Show" or "Pleasantville" — it has Walt's fingerprints all over it.

This is a town where a communal atmosphere is paramount, and the tranquil white picket fences surrounding almost every property are so ingrained in its aura that they are literally part of its logo, which features a girl in a pigtail riding a bike by a fence with her dog trailing behind.

The town, now with a population of 10,000 people, was the brainchild of Disney Development Company, the Florida-based subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company that's involved in the design and construction of the resorts and shopping areas around Disney World. It was inspired by the New Urbanism craze that was growing in popularity in the early 1990s — land developers mixing a small-town feel with attractive downtowns.

What better way to extend the Disney brand than for the conglomerate to build a town in its image?

The two-screen movie theater in Celebration is one of the crown jewels of the Town Center downtown area. Like the entire downtown, it was built in 1994 to entice people to buy the condos above storefronts or the surrounding farmland that would soon be transformed into quaint homes. (Construction on houses began two years later.)

Disney hired some of the finest architects in the world to design the buildings downtown, and it got Cesar Pelli to do the theater.

What Pelli came up with is a gorgeous theater in a postmodern style, with round spires and twin round marquees. It makes you feel as if it were plucked right from the 1950s.



"I'll leaf through books on architecture, and I'll see the Celebration theater," Joe McKinney, a former resident who's now the CEO of the Startup Societies Foundation, told Business Insider.

And as the community grew, so did the theater's responsibilities.

In the early years of Celebration, the theater held church services every Sunday morning as the town waited for a place of worship to be built.

"In fact, one church would do its service, and you would walk out of the theater, and another church would walk in," a resident named Floyd McCollum recalled. "The pastors would pass each other."

The theater was also the site of the town's first-ever high school graduation for the class of 1996-97. There were only four graduates, but the theater was packed to witness it.

But in 2004, Disney sold its stake in the Town Center to the private-equity firm Lexin Capital. The theater, operated by the AMC theater chain, closed its doors in 2010, but AMC still owns its lease.

So why has the largest movie-theater chain in the world kept a two-screen, 527-seat theater empty for close to a decade?

That's a question residents have been trying to get answered for years.

Major restrictions held back profitability

The movie theater is one of McKinney's first memories as a 7-year-old moving to Celebration from Minnesota in 2000. He recalled how he and his family got into town for the first time late at night, and because of something that went wrong in the move, they all went to a late showing at the theater to kill time.

"It was 'The Tigger Movie,'" McKinney said. "My family fell asleep watching the movie."

As the years went on, going to the theater became a ritual for McKinney. He attended Sunday service there before the church was built. He remembers running straight to the theater from school to wait six hours in line to see "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith." And it was where he would hang out with his friends.

"We did a thing I used to call 'Celebration Lunch' — we would go grab a slice of pizza, go get an ice-cream cone, and right next door would be the movie theater, and we would see a matinee," he said.

The theater is where Alex Foster would go to catch a movie late at night when he would have trouble sleeping. And numerous residents recalled seeing the "Harry Potter" movies there, standing in a line that would snake around the block.



But despite all the fond memories, the theater was never consistently busy.

"The sellouts were infrequent," Donald Moysey, who worked at the theater for a year in the late 1990s when he was 16, told Business Insider. "The normal movies, only a couple of people would come out. We would have a lot of showings where no one would show up."

Outside of the occasional major blockbuster, the theater, called the AMC Celebration 2, was usually empty, he said. Moysey said this was partly because of infrequent new releases and Disney's mandate that it not play any movies that were extremely violent or sexually explicit.

One myth in Celebration about the theater is that it could run only Disney movies. Others believe it could screen only PG-rated or G-rated movies.

But Moysey said all different kinds of movies were shown there unless they had adult themes like gore, a lot of bad language, or nudity.

"A Quentin Tarantino movie wasn't going to show up there," Moysey said. "If a violent movie or horror movie was the big release that weekend, it wasn't coming to Celebration. So AMC could not put in the most profitable movie to that theater every week. The theater never turned a profit. It was just a question of how much did we lose that month."

AMC finally cut bait on the theater in 2010. It took its logos off the building and shut off the marquee lights — though after years of public outcry, AMC began turning on the lights in the evenings.

And though there was a lot of disappointment spouted online about the theater's closing, the town didn't really come out to give it a proper send-off on its final day.

McCollum and his family were there on the last day the theater was open: November 28, 2010. The titles showing were "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and the animated movie "Megamind," starring Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt.

McCollum said the only reason he knew the theater was closing was that he happened to spot a sign in front of the theater saying so.

He went with his wife, his son, and his neighbor to see "Megamind" and was shocked by what he saw.

"Inside the theater was literally just the four of us," he said. "Four people to see a movie on the last day ever!"



Things got even stranger.

McCollum said that when they walked in that evening, it looked like any other night, with staff members checking tickets and making popcorn. But when the movie ended, they went to the lobby to find no one there.

"It was completely empty," he said. "The movie posters were all off the walls and rolled up in the trash — I took the 'Megamind' one, and my neighbor took the "Harry Potter." Everything was cleaned out. Nobody was there. I actually checked the door when we left; it was locked once we were out and the door shut.

"Nobody could come back in. It was really sad."



Why AMC has kept the lease to an empty theater

When AMC began work on a massive 24-screen multiplex at Walt Disney World Resort's Pleasure Island in 1997 — now renamed Disney Springs — the park had one stipulation: If AMC wanted the 24 screens, it also had to take on the existing two-screen theater in Celebration. (A source close to the negotiation confirmed to Business Insider the deal's stipulation.)

Some Celebration residents believe that AMC began to see the town's theater as an annoyance and always intended to close it up once the Pleasure Island theater got on its feet.

Moysey got a job at the Pleasure Island AMC years after working at the Celebration theater, and he said there wasn't much chatter about the Celebration location.

"It was implied that they didn't have any association with it," he said. "They definitely didn't have any intentions of reopening it."

According to town officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity and documents obtained by Business Insider, AMC has kept the Celebration theater empty for close to a decade because it's cheaper to take the loss on the theater than to pay staff and operate it.

The chain, which recently renewed its lease on the theater, has also held onto it so no competitors can come in and take over, the town officials told Business Insider — leaving Celebration residents and those in neighboring areas with the AMC in Disney Springs as the closest option for seeing a movie.

But this hasn't stopped people over the years from devising business plans that they believe are right for the theater.

McCollum said he had been involved in three different attempts to take over the theater in the past eight years. The closest was an initiative headed by Foster, who is not a Celebration resident but is well-known in the area.

In 2016, Foster's Jazz Meets Motown, a weekly jam session of area jazz musicians, was a regular attraction at the Bohemian Celebration Hotel. On Monday nights, the music would fill the hotel's lounge — and at its height, the hotel would have to turn away 50 to 60 people, he said.

From that, his idea of a center for the arts in Celebration was born.



"I thought we got too big for that space," Foster said of performing at the hotel. "The plan was to take over the theater — one of the theaters would be for playing jazz and special programming, and the other theater would be for small live theater productions and classic movies."

Foster also found interest from nearby schools in a potential scholarship program as well as a program dedicated to entertaining older people in the area.

To the shock of many in Celebration, both Lexin and AMC were willing to entertain the offer. Foster just had to come up with some cash.

Specifically, Foster said, he had to get $50,000 up front, then pay $25,000 a month to rent the space from AMC, which would still be the leaseholder — and he had to get a $2 million line of credit.

"My problem was the lack of money," Foster said.

He acknowledged that he made the mistake of not putting enough time into trying to get corporate sponsors.

"We thought we had community backing — we had these meetings once a month," Foster said. "In desperation, I gave a New Year's Eve fundraiser, and that was a disaster. Arms were opened, but I was never embraced."

Foster gave up his dream last year. But since then, a new group has come forward.

The willing takers

Christina and Sean Gerrity are what you call lifers in the performing-arts world.

Christina has traveled all over the world as a professional dancer, while Sean has done everything from performing full time at Disney World to headlining as a singer aboard Royal Caribbean cruises. They ended up at Celebration 6 1/2 years ago when they got off the road and started a family, but the drive to do something in the arts continued.

They began the Celebration Arts Academy a year ago with a desire to use their talents and experience to mold the next generation of entertainers.

"We started with six students, and now we have 105 in one year's time," Christina Gerrity told Business Insider. "We want to expand."

For the past year, they've been subleasing a 1,000-square-foot space from the owners of the Thai restaurant in town, and now they have their sights on the theater.

At first, Christina Gerrity said, the plan was to rent some space at the theater once Foster started operating there. But soon after Foster gave up on trying to sublease the theater, the Gerritys took on the task of trying to revive the theater.

"Phase one would be updating the performance space: take out the existing screen, build a backstage, take out a row or two of seats, build a VIP section in the lobby," Gerrity explained. "The second phase would be building out the education center: have dance rooms, a homework area, a tech area where kids learn about working backstage."

However, like in Foster's case, it has been a challenge to move forward. Christina Gerrity said though AMC was very willing to sublease the theater, Lexin Capital also has to OK it, which has been the roadblock.

"We formed a nonprofit in the last two months in order to build some funds to get in there," Gerrity said. "But we've been told by Lexin we need 'strong financials' — up to the millions — just to get in."

And then there's the condition of the theater.

Gerrity said she had been inside the space twice. The second time, she said, she saw water pouring from the ceiling of the men's restroom.

"It was like a lake in there," she said. "After all these years, and the hurricanes, who knows what's behind the walls."

Lexin Capital has been accused in the past of neglecting repairs to the town. In 2016, the condo owners' association filed a civil lawsuit seeking to force Lexin to pay $15 million to $20 million in repairs.

Gerrity says she doesn't know how much it would cost to do the needed repairs for the theater because Lexin refuses to have an inspector look at the building, and the Gerritys say they will not spend their money to get one themselves.

"We have a legally binding lease with AMC Theater on the space, so we are not at liberty to discuss lease specifics with anyone other than the leaseholder," a spokesman for Lexin told Business Insider via email. "As far as why AMC closed, current condition, etc., those are questions that would need to be answered by the leaseholder (AMC)."

AMC did not respond to Business Insider's numerous requests for comment for this story.



The Gerritys have since postponed a fundraiser they were planning to hold at the end of March and are trying to figure out their next move.

"We are not sure what direction to go now, because we feel like we're up against a wall," Christina Gerrity said.

But Gerrity has a glimmer of hope. She said she was recently told by her business partner that the leasing agent for AMC had divulged that the movie chain did not plan to renew its lease on the theater when it expires in October 2021 — something substantiated by another source.

Of Lexin, Gerrity said, "Once that lease is up, they'll change their tune."

For the foreseeable future, however, the theater that was more than just a movie house for the people of Celebration will be relegated to a slowly rotting structure like so many of its brethren across the country.

If this were an old Disney movie made while Walt was at the controls, this would be the moment in the story when a little bit of magic would appear — perhaps in the form of a fairy godmother or some pixie dust — to make things right.

But it doesn't look as though this story will have a happy ending.

"I'll often go back," McKinney said of Celebration. "Seeing that movie theater with its beautiful architecture in the middle of town and it's not open, it's just strange."

Business Insider - 5 avril 2018.
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