Home Entertainment Theater 14-theater center with ‘giant’ movie screen breaks ground in Menifee – Press-Enterprise

14-theater center with ‘giant’ movie screen breaks ground in Menifee – Press-Enterprise

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Imagine leaning back in a leather seat, sinking your teeth into a juicy burger ordered from a server and sipping a glass of wine, while simultaneously being thrilled by a film on one of the nation’s largest indoor movie screens.

You could be doing that in Menifee during the 2020 holiday season.

Construction has begun on a much-anticipated 13-acre, 155,000-square-foot entertainment center at Newport Road and Town Center Drive that promises to bring 14 theaters to a rapidly growing city of almost 100,000 residents.

But this center will be more than the city’s first movie house, said George Krikorian, CEO for Torrance-based Krikorian Premiere Theatres, which is building the project.

“What makes it special is, it’s not just a movie theater, it’s an entertainment complex,” Krikorian said. “The theaters are one component.”

And what a component it will be.

Krikorian said the largest of those 14 theaters will feature a screen 100 feet wide and 60 feet tall, and a second screen will be 70 feet across.

The 14 theaters will have a combined seating capacity of 1,800, he said, and there will be 500 seats alone in front of the monster screen. The latter will be so large that “you have to step back quite a ways,” he said.

“The color quality and the picture quality will be spectacular,” Krikorian said, adding that the sound system will be top of the line, too.

If there is a consistent project theme, it is comfort. Movie goers will be able to chill in reclining, leather seats, and order meals and drinks.

Gina Gonzalez, Menifee economic development director, said the entertainment complex comes at a time when Menifee residents have been clamoring for places to take a date or the family to see a movie.

“This is the No. 1 amenity that the community’s been requesting,” Gonzalez said, citing city surveys.

Just exactly when the theaters arrive will depend on such factors as the unpredictable weather.

But Krikorian said he is aiming for an opening between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The project has been in the works several years, but there have been delays along the way. Krikorian attributed those to project revisions and unanticipated challenges.

In December, the project finally broke ground. Heavy equipment operators were busy moving and leveling mounds of dirt at the 13-acre site on the rainy Thursday afternoon of Jan. 9. Krikorian said construction is expected to begin on building foundations in a few days.

The monster screen and 13 other theaters will be the focus of a 120,000-square-foot building. Also planned is a “Las Vegas-style” sports bar — itself boasting a 60-foot wide video screen, an 18-lane bowling alley, and places to play laser tag and virtual reality games, among other activities. There will be opportunities for dining and drinking, with outdoor seating areas that allow visitors to cozy up to fireplaces or soak in the sun.

“It’s going to be a place that people will really gravitate to, to socialize, to eat and to enjoy nice warm summer evenings,” Krikorian said.

Nearby, in free-standing buildings totaling about 35,000 square feet along Newport, pizza, barbecue and southwest-style restaurants, and a bank, are poised to open too, he said.

Gonzalez said the project is in a hub of activity where a hotel is under construction, and a courthouse for handling civil matters and new city hall are planned.

The entertainment center is expected to spur more economic development in Menifee, she said.

To handle heavy traffic generated by the center, Gonzalez said city officials are counting on the recent widening of Newport Road, the expansion of the Scott Road/215 Freeway interchange set to wrap up by summer and a planned Holland Road overpass over the 215 to ease congestion.

Krikorian said the center will draw not only movie goers from Menifee, but also from surrounding communities such as Temecula, Lake Elsinore and Hemet because of the theaters’ special features.

“People will come from a greater distance to see a great movie on a giant screen,” he said.

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