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Highlighted in red is the property acquired by Epic Theaters on Mount Dora's Spring Harbor Boulevard.
Highlighted in red is the property acquired by Epic Theaters on Mount Dora's Spring Harbor Boulevard. (Lake County Property Appraiser)

Look for dirt to start moving for a long-awaited Mount Dora movie theater in the next couple of weeks.

Frank DeMarsh, president of Epic Theatres of Deland, told GrowthSpotter on Thursday he has a permit for site work from the city, and could break ground any day now. He is currently choosing contractors from a list of preferred vendors.

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Lake County residents, who have been waiting for about two years for the proposed theater, still have another year or so before they can buy popcorn and watch a flick in Mount Dora.

Long anticipated by a city without a movie theater, plans by Epic have drug one for two years until last week, when the group paid $1.89 million for 17 acres set for development.

DeMarsh says site work is expected to take three months, with another 10 months for construction, so it will be late Spring 2017 before the theater opens.

To be built on 17 acres on the south side of U.S. 441 behind the Mount Dora Target, the theater will include 12 screens, with one larger than the others.  All the chairs will be recliners, DeMarsh said.

The closest theater to Mount Dora now is at the former Lake Square Mall, now called Via Port, about 10 miles  away.

The proposed Epic Theatres in Mount Dora has spent several years getting approval for its construction.  It was stalled by controversy about its height, with opponents concerned the taller structure would open the door to taller buildings in downtown, two miles away from the theater site.

The movie theater will cap a rush of development in that section of U.S. 441.

Across the street from Target, infrastructure work is underway for a new shopping center of 44,200 square feet that will include a Panera, an Aldi grocery and a Tijuana Flats. Mattress Firm, Pacific Dental Services, and Vitamin Shoppe are also signed tenants there.

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.

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