A sign announcing NCG Cinemas is coming to Northeast Plaza is displayed on the building that has been unoccupied for three years. First, the city has to approve rezoning the entire shopping center to allow for the movie theater. (Dyana Bagby)

The owners of Northeast Plaza on Buford Highway are seeking to rezone the shopping center to allow for a NCG Cinemas 10-screen movie theater in an existing building, saying the new addition will “help bolster the existing businesses” and “thrive in an area with limited entertainment options.”

Brixmor Property Group, owner of the 42-acre shopping center at 3307 Buford Highway in Brookhaven, is asking the city to rezone the property from C-1 (local commercial) to C-2 (general commercial). Large assembly businesses such as a movie theater are allowed in general commercial but not local commercial.

The theater is being added to an existing 44,700 square foot building and will be a “welcome addition to the existing commercial uses at the shopping center and will fill a needed void for residents in the area,” according to a letter of intent filed with the city.

The Brookhaven Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the request next month.

Although the rezoning has yet to be approved, a large banner sign announcing NCG Cinemas is “coming soon” is displayed on the building with a 3365 Buford Highway address. The building is located in the northern section of the shopping center near Briarwood Road. In January, a Brixmor representative said the theater was expected to open in November.

The theater would have 10 screens and offer reserved seating with recliners and “enhanced concessions,” according to Brixmor.

From 1990 to 1999, the 12-screen Northeast Plaza Cinema operated in the same building. The space was then the Atlanta Peach Ballroom nightclub until it shut down in 2016 and the building has been unoccupied since.

Brixmor says only updates to the exterior frontage and interior renovations are needed to transform the space into a movie theater.

Northast Plaza was built in 1957 and now largely serves a local, Latino population and attracts people from Brookhaven and throughout metro Atlanta for its “unique shopping and international restaurants,” according to Brixmor.

“[Brixmor] anticipates the theater will draw even more customers to the shopping center and will help bolster existing businesses,” they state in the letter of intent.

Brixmor said that the proposed theater, while not a complete redevelopment of the shopping center, “will allow the revitalization of otherwise vacant space with a use that is needed in, and compatible with, the surrounding area.”

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.