Cima Network Creates Big-Screen Atmosphere for Nanuet, NY's Regal Cinemas

LED and neon displays merge to create Oscar-worthy sign program

Bill Lockett is president and co-owner of Cima Network (Montgomeryville, PA)
A comprehensive sign project for a large property requires a carefully orchestrated team effort. Prompt, transparent communication is essential. All stakeholders must have aligned expectations for the project logistics, duration and budget. We view it as our responsibility to facilitate that.
We held strictly to these principles in developing the project for Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest movie exhibitor. It wanted to make a bold branding statement for its state-of-the-art theatre at Simon Property Group’s The Shops at Nanuet®, an open-air lifestyle center in Nanuet, NY, a hamlet 19 miles north of Manhattan.
In modern malls and lifestyle centers, movie theatres are viewed as anchor tenants, on par with department stores and chain restaurants, that bring vitality to a mall. The wow factor that delivers the promise of the ultimate movie-going experience must provide a major draw. That’s what we strive to deliver.
Key players
Regal and Simon selected Cima Network Inc., a national signage and environmental branding company (Montgomeryville, PA), to lead the onsite branding effort for the Regal facility, which was built by Rodney Sartain Architects. This was no ordinary sign project: Cima’s scope of work included not only interior and exterior signage, decorative lighting and illuminated columns, but also a 40-ft.-tall, architectural stepped tower that serves as the building‘s main focal point. The metal façade’s banding and the flanking building towers complement this stately structure.
Experience is essential for executing such an ambitious project successfully. Ed Sangmeister, Cima’s senior project manager and a 20-year, sign- and construction-industry veteran, took the lead on the job. To navigate the project’s complex design, we enlisted our expert trio of Keith Denny, Cima’s co-founder and executive vice president; technical-design-director Butch Zawislak, and technical designer Tom Kay. They developed the conceptual drawings and finalized intricate, technical details.
To fabricate the sign package, Cima collaborated with Helios Creative (Pennsauken, NJ), a wholesale, architectural-sign vendor. Jim Rose, Cima’s director of field services, teamed up with its union-shop affiliates for installation. With a stellar cast of industry veterans in the fold, Cima was ready to bring a touch of Hollywood glamour to Nanuet.
Design reigns
When working with an architect’s design intent, and designing more than 30 sign-lighting and archi-
tectural elements within a space, creative acumen, adherence to the design intent, and collaboration with all stakeholders are vital. Cima’s design team enacted countless sign-package revisions jointly with Regal Entertainment Group’s Kate Wentworth and Kelly Arnold and Simon Property Group’s Bryan Boelke. Our goal with theatre designs is exciting customers with vibrant colors and forms that effectively brand the space, while moving customers seamlessly through the theater and highlighting key revenue centers (ticket windows, concession stands, game arcades, etc.).
Throughout the process, Butch Zawislak used SketchUp® software to render 3-D layouts that accurately reflect the facility’s unique amenities. The process was key to helping our customer gain a realistic picture of the sign designs.
To name just a few components, the sign package included a 25-ft.-high blade sign; multiple sets of 4-ft.-tall, LED channel letters illuminated with SloanLED red modules; 40-ft.-high, aluminum towers with LED border lighting; nearly 1,000 linear ft. of neon; signs with embedded Data Display monochromatic LED boards, which displayed information with 20 or 50 characters per line; and illuminated, acrylic, theatre-entrance columns.
To create the neon components, we used 920 linear ft. of 15mm EGL neon glass that created a brilliant palette of horizon blue, orange, ruby red, HP green and E-60 Casino Gold. France’s P5KA2NG-2UE 30mA, 9,000V Service Master transformers power the neon lighting.
Fit for a king
Cima fabricated the blade sign’s frame from ¼-in.-thick, aluminum square tubing. Its inner sections comprise 0.090-in.-thick McNichols perforated-metal sheets, which were mounted in a staggered pattern within the frame. Perforated-metal sheets provide ample channel-letter support while also providing a sophisticated design feature.
The blade’s base features a horizontal “RPX” – which stands for Regal Premium Experience – pill-shaped sign with routed, push-through copy. We built the sign from 0.090-in.-thick aluminum, with a ½-in.-thick, clear, push-through acrylic first surface that’s decorated with Arlon translucent vinyl.
Atop the frame, we mounted channel letters that were constructed with Regal’s name and its signature circle logo. Cima constructed them using 0.090-in.-thick metal backs and 0.063-in.-thick returns. The letters’ faces feature first-surface-applied, red Arlon vinyl. We similarly constructed the letters above the building’s front elevation.
The theater’s custom, interior-entrance column frames were fabricated from 2 x 2 x 3/16-in. aluminum angle, which we skinned with 0.090-in.-thick aluminum. The assemblies feature a decorative-aluminum base with an accenting, faux-finished design that matches the theater’s millwork. Inside the columns, Cima welded custom retainers that hold Lexan® frosted-polycarbonate lenses. To enhance the lenses, we applied second-surface, amber vinyl. The columns incorporate eW Blast Powercore white-LED fixtures.
The front façade’s focal point entails five, aluminum-tower structures that project above the roofline. We built the 40-ft.-tall, center tower from 2 x 2 x ¼-in., aluminum square tube that’s skinned with 0.125-in.-thick, aluminum sheets. We mounted and sleeved the frames over 14-ft.-tall, 8-in.-diameter, 3/8-in.-thick, steel pipe that’s welded to 2-in.-thick, steel plates. In turn, we bolted the plates to the contractor-supplied matchplates on the roof using ¾-in.-thick, Grade 8 bolts. For the towers’ finish, we created a random grind. This means we scuffed the mill-finish, aluminum surface with an angle grinder fitted with an abrasive pad. This created a non-uniform finish that, when painted with transparent paint, created a distinctive texture.
We painted signs with an acrylic-polyurethane paint system within a paint booth set for cross-draft airflow and negative pressure. For accent colors, we applied SEM Color Horizons Candy Concentrate for blue and red, and House of Kolor Kandy Koncentrate for yellow. To illuminate the towers and skyline, we installed SloanLED ColorLine tubing in blue, red and yellow.
The installation crew secured the towers and blade sign with 115- and 40-ton service cranes, which Nanuet’s Olori Crane Service supplied. We brought a secondary JLG 70-ft., boom-lift truck to handle component welding and assembly. We similarly fabricated, decorated and installed four other, flanking towers, and horizontal metal banding.
Because we’d built such a large tower structure, we stayed in constant contact with the architect and general contractor to verify that all steel supports were accurately placed.
A Tribute to Butch
Shortly after this project, we sadly lost Butch Zawislak on October 1 after a sudden, aggressive illness. Butch was a dedicated, loved and treasured member of the Cima family. Butch dedicated his entire professional career to the sign industry; he owned Color My World Signs in Hamlin, PA prior to joining the Cima team. He entered the industry as a traditional signpainer in the early ’80s, and evolved with the times to embrace CAD/CAM signage, and ultimately mastered SketchUp and 3-D sign rendering.
On a daily basis, Butch brought an unparalleled passion to Cima and the sign industry. His love for what he did was evident in his vibrant personality and the quality of his work. He pushed the boundaries on ideas, technology and fabrication techniques. Shortly before Butch’s passing, we shared the completion photos from the Nanuet project with him. He gleamed with pride as he looked at the photos; soaking in what would be his last contribution to his beloved sign industry. Butch will be forever missed, but never forgotten.
He also moonlighted as a DJ for many years.
Acrylic-polyurethane paint, from such vendors as Matthews, a division of PPG (Delaware, OH), (800) 323-6593 or; Color Horizons Candy Concentrate, from SEM Products (Rock Hill, SC), (800) 831-1122 or; Kandy Koncentrate, from House of Kolor (Garland, TX), (800) 845-2500 or
Cranes: Forty- and 115-ton cranes, from Olori Crane Service (Nanuet, NY), (845) 623-1267 or; Boom-lift truck, from JLG (McConnelsburg, PA), (717) 485-5161 or
Lighting: SloanLED tube lighting and modules, from SloanLED (Ventura, CA), (888) 747-4533 or; Luminous tubing, available from EGL (Berkeley Heights, NJ), (908) 508-1111 or; Service Master 30mA/9,000V transformers, from France (Fairview, TN), (800) 753-2753 or; eW Blast Powercore white-LED fixtures, from Philips Color Kinetics (Burlington, MA), (888) 385-5724 or
Messageboard: LED displays, from Data Displays USA (Holbrook, NY), (888) 352-7452 or
Metal: Various thicknesses of aluminum sheet and angle iron, available from building-supply stores; Perforated-metal sheets, from McNichols (Tampa), (800) 367-5817 or  
Router: MultiCam 3000 CNC router, from MultiCam (Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, TX), (972) 929-4070 or  
Software: SketchUp 3-D software, from Trimble Navigation Ltd. (Sunnyvale, CA),
Vinyl: Translucent vinyl, from Arlon (Santa Ana, CA), (800) 854-0361 or
Welding: Millermatic 200 MIG-welding system, from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. (Appleton, WI), (920) 734-9821 or 
More About Bill
For five years, Bill Lockett has served as president of Montgomeryville, PA-based Cima Network, a national sign and environmental-branding firm. Previously, he served three years as project-management and business-development VP for Custom Finishers Inc. In addition to Regal Cinemas, Cima clients include Pep Boys, American Girl and Raymour & Flanigan.
The company recently moved into a larger facility to expand its production, design and project-management services. For more information, visit