COL: Drama Coming Soon to a Theater Near You
My children grew up going to the movies at the Kickingbird Theater. This eight-screen theater has been a staple in Edmond since 1988. I love local, but recent announcements about new theaters in and near Edmond leave me wondering if that will be enough to sustain the local eight-screen fixture.
Showbiz Cinemas, working with Covell-35 Development, have agreed on a $4.8 million incentive package with the City of Edmond to build a $23 million family entertainment center, which will include a 12-screen theater and 18 bowling lanes. The 82,500 square foot center will be built on 11.04 acres located on the northwest corner of I-35 and Covell.
This $4.8 million incentive will be paid annually based on an amount equal to two cents of the city’s sales, as generated from the movie and entertainment complex the previous year. Based on expected sales of $12 million per year, Assistant City Manager Steve Commons believes the incentive will be paid off in 15 to 16 years.
This announcement is important for Edmond and confirms the “build-it-and-they-will-come” concept that was employed by city leaders when they committed $12 million to a public/private $37 million six-story hotel and conference center on the same corner. It also confirms that cities must be ready to come to the table with incentive packages to attract this type of development.
Although technically in OKC, Warren Theaters has proposed a development at the Kilpatrick Turnpike and Eastern similar to their popular theater in Moore. This concept will offer movie-goers restaurant service with alcohol, if Oklahoma’s legislature approves the measure.
It used to be enough to have stadium-style seating, large screens, and awesome surround-sound, but today movie-goers are demanding more. They want more comfortable leather oversized recliners, higher-quality food options, and alcohol. Whether our local theater can survive this intense competition will depend upon their ability to conform to new customer preferences.
Dr. J. David Chapman is an Associate Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UCO ([email protected]).