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Theater to open early next year

The coming attractions at the Marriott-anchored complex at Park Avenue now includes the Village Theater.

SMC Contracting of Reno broke ground on the eight-plex theater last week with the idea it would open early next year.

“If the weather is kind to us, we might be open in January — or February,” said Gary Casteel, Sr., of Trans-Sierra Investments.



His company operates the Factory Stores at the “Y” and the retail space at Heavenly Village. Now Casteel wants to lease the space next to Century 21 to Ironwood Cinema owner-operator Monte Adcock of Carson Valley. He was unavailable for comment.

Trans-Sierra hoped to open for the Christmas holiday when blockbuster films are released, but the project’s design became more demanding than what Casteel said he had expected.



The nearly $10 million project encompasses a 35,000-square-foot structure with a 900-seat cinema, a concessionaire and space for other retail outlets.

“The key to the retail (at Heavenly Village) is coming to light,” he said.

Details are scarce on prospective retailers, though Casteel said he hopes for speciality shops.

“We’re not looking for the Gaps of the world. We want specialty use. We’re looking for something that has things you don’t find every day,” he said.

First things first though — the contracting crew will lay concrete after the excavation work, SMC foreman Willie Razo said Tuesday as he thumbed through pages and pages of blueprints and renderings.

Casteel and an Ironwood representative believe Adcock will feature similar films that are shown in Minden — those that would cater to the locals and the visitors of South Lake Tahoe.

To ensure both demographics show up for the shows, the city has placed in the management agreement three hours of free parking with validation for moviegoers using its garage.

The city’s Redevelopment Agency received the green light to advance its plans to build the cinema four months ago when it won a judgment against Wallace Theaters in the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Sacramento.

The Portland-based company operated three theaters in the area — two at the “Y” and one at Stateline.

Wallace representatives claimed the city’s agency had a responsibility to give it preference to re-enter the redevelopment zone once the dust had settled from demolition. It challenged the agency in court three years ago.

At that time, the City Council heard an hour-long testimony in community complaints ranging from sticky floors to poor sound quality and decided to go with a different operator.

Wallace currently runs the movie theater located in the Horizon Casino Resort.

Casteel said a new operator will meet the public’s expectations.

“It’s a very valuable component to the project and rounds off what we’ve tried to create in a village atmosphere,” city Redevelopment Manager Gene Palazzo said.

The Marriott folks are just as pleased.

“It’s one more element of that whole village experience our (timeshare) owners will think is great,” said Ed Kinney, spokesman for Marriott Vacation Club.

He didn’t rule out the bread-and-butter local though, complimenting the city for re-evaluating its parking garage rates.

The City Council will look at the change in structure at next Tuesday’s meeting.

“We look to the local to come out for this too. If we don’t build on that experience, we’ll lose in the long run,” Kinney said.

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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