ABOVE: Rending of Lighthouse 5 Drive-in Movie Theatre (supplied by Spencer Folmar)
An ambitious film enthusiast has a unique vision for Eustis. As a kid, Spencer Folmar fell in love with the cinema going to single-screen and drive-in movie theaters. Now the Eustis native and CEO of Veritas Theatres, wants to provide Central Florida audiences and families with a nostalgic and innovative drive-in movie theater complex to serve the needs of the growing population.
Folmar’s proposed 5-Screen Drive-In movie theater that has a lighthouse in the center would be called Lighthouse 5. The current plan is to have two to three screens showing the latest Hollywood releases and the remaining screens showing arthouse and nostalgic films.
“We hope to break ground at the end of 2020 if the vote goes through tonight. And likely the first phase will take at least 2-3 years to execute and get open,” Folmar told Mount Dora Buzz. The Eustis City Commission is scheduled to vote this evening on the project. Folmar searched the area for a theater to purchase to add to his small Veritas Theatres chain which has locations in Pennsylvania and Texas, but later decided to pursue his unique drive-in concept in Eustis. The family-friendly project would have three phases. The first would be the drive-in theater, followed by a campground in phase two and a mix of restaurants and shops in phase three. After a year-long search Folmar and his team set their sights on the city-owned, 72 acres of land on CR 44 next to Cobb’s Tractor and diagonally from Trout Lake. The project would be privately funded and require the city to sell the commercially zoned property to Folmar.
“I was born at Waterman Hospital in Eustis, Florida and this project is especially important to me, and the land I am looking to purchase is more than ideal,” wrote Folmar who was raised in central Pennsylvania.
Folmar also stated he is looking to work with Trout Lake to expand their tourism offerings and an additional nature reserve.
“We are working with our neighbors and the City to provide an entertainment tourism destination with this unique concept,” wrote Folmar, presently a Los Angeles resident.
Folmar, who is also the producer and director at Hard Faith Films believes Eustis is the right city for his investment. His company, SpenceTF LLC, has offered to pay the full assessed value to purchase the 72-acres that the City has owned for over four decades. Veritas Theatres opened its first location in Grove City, Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh in April, 2019. It’s currently operating two theaters and has two more undergoing renovations. A special public meeting will be held today at Eustis City hall at 5pm today for the City Commision to vote on the project. The community is invited to attend and provide their input. Eustis City Hall is located at 10 N. Grove Street in Eustis.
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