San Bruno cineplex slated for ’08 opening

The much-anticipated 20-screen movie theater at The Shops at Tanforan — one of the city’s most popular destinations —is on track to open in spring 2008, theater representatives announced Tuesday.

The complex, operated by Cinemark, is a 4,000-seat Century theater with high-backed stadium seating. It will be the fourth major movie theater to open on the Peninsula in five years. The city is expecting to see a boost insales tax revenue as theater patrons shop at nearby stores prior to showtimes or dine at the shopping center’s restaurants.

The theater complex will be located near the parking structure at The Shops at Tanforan, connecting to retail outlets via a skybridge, according to Cinemark spokeswoman Valerie Shortall. Cinemark has yet to give the theater an official title.

Tanforan, the former racetrack-turned-Japanese internment camp turned-shopping mall, was a popular shopping spot in the 1970s and ’80s. Over time, the center lost business to other malls and shopping districts on the Peninsula. In 2004, developers Wattson Breevast stripped buildings down to their frames and spent $140 million to turn the ailing center into a brand-new shopping destination with more popular stores and new eateries.

The mall reopened in late 2005.

“We’re always looking for new stores and looking to refine our mix of stores,” Tanforan spokeswoman Christina Robles said. “But we think that the theater opening will provide additional traffic that exposes their shops to new customers.”

Construction started on the theater in February; officials have since been anticipating a welcome influx of San Bruno residents as well as out-of-towners. The complex will be the only new theater destination south of Daly City and north of San Mateo.

Redwood City’s downtown cinema-retail complex opened last year, following the 2003 opening of San Mateo’s 12-screen Century theater and surrounding businesses. Daly City’s own 20-screen Century complex opened in 2002.

Daly City economic and community development director Terry Sedik, citing a study performed before the Daly City theater opened, said that 40 percent of people eat out right before or right after a movie. He estimates that approximately 2.5 million people visit the theater annually.

Similarly, downtown sales taxes in Redwood City increased by 8.2 percent when comparing the fourth quarter revenues of 2005 and 2006, according to city Finance Director Brian Ponty.

San Bruno goes to the movies

» Construction started: February 2007

» Projected opening: spring 2008

» Operated by: Cinemark (based in Texas)

» Seats: approximately 4,000

» Features: 20-screen theater, high-backed seats, wider aisles, kiosk ticketing

– Source: Cinemark

tramroop@examiner.com

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