Lights, camera, action for new cinema

Business owners and citizens are counting down the days and hours until Friday night, when the 20-screen Century Theatres site opens downtown.

“Friday night will be the last day of the old downtown Redwood City that people have known for 50 years,” said John Anagnostou, owner of the Fox Theatre, located next door to the new cinema site. “The transition is going to blow people away.”

It’s been a long wait for many, including downtown proprietors who endured eight months of street closures and delays while construction crews prepared the retail-cinema site for opening day. Redwood City’s newest downtown draw was due to open in August of 2005, but a multitude of delays caused by steel supplies and a long rainy season pushed its completion back by nearly a year.

As crews installed lights over the ticket counter Tuesday afternoon, passers-by peeked into the theater’s open front door to admire the high-ceilinged lobby and ask questions about opening night.

Redwood City has poured $49 million into roadwork, landscaping and a new parking garage underneath the cinema, while developers with BHV Innisfree have spent $75 million on the main building, according to Redwood City Redevelopment Agency Director Susan Moeller. That money is aimed at a downtown revitalization that will help the area shed its “Deadwood City” image.

Officials expect roughly a million people to visit downtown each year. Sales tax from the theater and its accompanying shops should bring in $200,000 a year for the city, according to Finance Director Brian Ponty.

Business has already increased at shops along Broadway, such as Young’s Ice Cream, since the street reopened earlier this month, according to Young’s owner Cathy Oyster.

Oyster took her kids this week to a preview of “Ant Bully” — perhaps the last time she’ll have to leave town to do so. “I thought, ‘We’re going to be seeing premieres in our own little theater soon.’ I’m excited,” she said.

In the coming months, Middlefield Road between Veterans Boulevard and Broadway will be treated with new colored lamps and an archway guiding pedestrians to the “Theater District,” according to plans approved Monday night by the City Council. A new downtown plaza in front of the 1910 Courthouse is also expected to open in October.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Legal challenge halts SFPD jurisdiction over dog attacks on federal land

Dog owners beware — canine attacks are now consequence-free on federal land… Continue reading

49ers battle with the Saints lives up to its billing

Kittle’s 39-yard catch-and-run had placed San Francisco in prime position for a game-winning field goal as the 49ers trailed 46-45

SF police shoot burglary suspect in Mission District

Man allegedly attacked officers before being shot in first on-duty SFPD shooting since June 2018

Not even heavy rain can stop the 25th annual SantaCon

Jolly, drunken fun event for Santas is the ‘least wonderful time of the year’ for many locals

Ronen says $100M service expansion is ‘going to fix’ SF’s mental health crisis

Compromise mental health plan has backing of mayor, full Board of Supervisors

Most Read