BREAKING NEWS: Burien Town Square Could Be Getting A 10-Screen Cinema Complex

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by Ralph Nichols

Burien could get a cinema complex at Town Square after all.

And, city Economic Development Director Dick Loman said Friday (Oct. 2nd), if a new proposal becomes reality, it will fill an entertainment gap in downtown Burien.

When the planning of Town Square was underway several years ago, both city officials and Urban Partners, the project’s private developer, anticipated that a multi-screen cinema would be part of it.

In the end, however, no deal with a movie-theater chain was reached and development of Town Square proceeded without one.

Now the city has received a “very preliminary” proposal for a 10-screen cinema complex that would be built as part of the next phase of Town Square, according to Loman.

City Manager Mike Martin added, “This is a serious proposal and we’re treating it that way. We view this as a potentially important development.”

Loman noted that Urban Partners’ current agreement with the city specifies that Phase II of the private development, which is planned for this site, is to be similar to the Phase I condominium-and-retail complex at the corner of SW 152nd and 6th Ave. SW that opened in June.

This means that a neighboring multi-storied complex, also with condos built above street-level retail space, would be immediately north of the Phase I development – which remains largely unoccupied.

Yet, Loman said, the housing market, including sales of condos, remains sluggish and shows no sign of rebounding soon. And Urban Partners is obligated by its agreement with the city to begin development of Phase II no later than two years after the certification (in July) of Phase I.

With the emergence of the proposal for a cinema complex as part of Phase II – should Burien lawmakers eventually agree to changing their agreement and give it a green light – both Urban Partners and the city could realize a positive solution to the current economic-development dilemma.

Loman said the movie-theater chain, which has not been identified at this point, wants to build a 10-screen cinema as the major development as part of Town Square’s Phase II. It would also include retail space, but no housing.

“We are studying this proposal very carefully, and we have asked Urban Partners and [the theater chain] for additional information,” he added. “We’re very pleased this opportunity is coming our way.”

Martin said, “This deal is in its infancy with more details to follow. There is a lot of work to be done. Obviously the council has made no decision yet.”

No determination has been made for what the third and final phase of Town Square development – at the corner of SW 152nd St. and 4th Ave. SW where the old city hall building is located – will include.

If built, the cinema complex would be located south of SW 150th Street, between 5th Place SW and 6th Ave. SW, in the vacant parcel currently occupied by the Burien Interim Art Space, which is slated to be cleared by Dec. 31st of this year.

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28 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Burien Town Square Could Be Getting A 10-Screen Cinema Complex”
  1. Susie says:

    That would be awesome. I hope it happens. I will never have to leave Burien again.
    That’s a little pathetic I know.

  2. Bonnie says:


  3. Carol Kitano says:

    I sure hope this happens…..I still remember seeing my first theater movie in the Burien Theater which is now Bison Creek Pizza!!!!

  4. Christine says:

    Fingers and toes crossed!

  5. Georgia says:

    This is long over due… I’m in favor of this proposal..

  6. Dixie Marincovich says:

    My entire family would be thrilled if this comes to pass!!!! It would fill a big gap in Burien’s current offerings. I remember all the years of my childhood and teens spent at Den Burien and Coy’s Highline theaters. Been a long dry spell without local movies, and I for one would like to avoid the traffic at Southcenter and environs.

  7. Jay says:

    10 screens seems a little much, but I’m all for the movies. When the home theater systems flooding the market, we started staying in our homes and I’m ready to get off the couch and get in front of the big screen. A short walk for dinner and then a stroll through the town square and off to the movies!!! It’s going to be very handy on those 90+ degree days….

  8. Brooks says:

    A big Cinaplex. That’s unique. That’ll really distinguish Burien in the way that Lynnwood, Northgate, and Crossroads did…. 20 years ago.

    I guess I’d like to see a more forward-looking version of entertainment. Maybe I’m lame but I’d reckon BI/AS to offer more possibilities.

  9. cougboy says:

    not sure i’m looking forward to the traffic and element that this would bring. hope it doesn’t happen. would kill the quant-ness we appear to be striving for.

  10. unclewoo says:

    That would be great. But I will believe it when I see it. With the economy and the real estate situation, maybe they should concentrate on selling phase one first. If a restaurant, drugstore and bar were lease in phase one, then a short walk to the movies, we could keep all of our entertainment $ in Burien. Susie’s right, we wouldn’t have to leave, and no, that’s not pathetic.

  11. Greg Duff says:

    I believe a 10 theatre complex would really bring the people to downtown Burien. I would love to not have to drive to Southcenter or Kent to see a movie. If you look at the theatre complex in Kent, it is very busy on a Friday and Saturday night when people are attending shows. Some of the best restaurants have moved into the complex. I would love to see that happen to “our” town.

  12. Tcb says:

    Hmm as far as multi screen entertainment goes it’s really not that far to Southcenter’s two or three multi screen houses. I like the idea of the Tin Room movie theatre with the small boutique approach. I think that’s what Burien should be shooting for, not a huge 10 screen complex.

  13. Rob says:

    Only great if they have self- buttering popcorn stations.

    • wanker says:

      I too was in awe of the self buttering station, until I realized the draw back. HOW DO YOU GET BUTTER IN THE MIDDLE!?!?! in the old days (and I mean the 90’s and early 2000’s) you could ask the nice young person behind the counter to fill the bucket halfway, add butter, add popcorn to the top and more butter.

      Please let me know if you have found a way around this, as I think we are just one small tweak from greatness!

  14. geon says:

    Not sure I like the idea for reason already stated—just a place trouble makers will hang out. I rarely go to a cinema. Not totally against it.

  15. Lindsey says:

    Such a bad, bad idea.

    I love the Tin Room’s intimate theater. That’s what we need more of. Not behemoth chains. I love Buriens neighborly feel and hope that it stays that way.

    • Rainycity says:

      Yup, They have already priced out some of the mom & pop type stores that really make a town feel neighborly, I try and shop at them (even though they cost a bit more) just because of the “feel”. Screw Wal-mart

    • wanker says:

      When does the Tin Room’s theater open? Or has it already? I looked at their website and there was no info.

    • candice. says:

      I’m excited to try the Tin Room’s theatre. Just last Saturday my friends and I went to the Big Picture in Belltown to see Zombieland. The small intimate feel (and the fact of being able to booze it up) was great.

      I’d much rather go to the Tin Room than a big cinema… but that’s just me. I agree it’s really not far to Southcenter.

  16. jm says:

    Horray! I always wished that Westwood or even White Center had a movie theater. I would much prefer to do dinner and a movie in Burien than in SouthCenter.

  17. Rainycity says:

    I think the new town leaders are absoluletly ruining Burien`s small town charm and trying to make it more like a belltown atmosphere.
    All I see is more crime and vandalism coming,, not much else good.
    Sigh, and we have to be annexed in to this.

  18. Ian Gunsul says:

    So with TS Phase 1 at 0% retail occupancy and hovering at 10% for the upper residential floors, the city wants to push forward with Phase 2? Wouldn’t it have been a better use of time by city management to try to get business’s into that completely empty space along 5th Ave and 152nd than to dive headlong into another black hole building? Why can’t this movie theatre go into the existring EMPTY retail space of Phase 1?
    At least looking at the BIAA brings some visual pleasure and uniqueness to our Town Square, unlike another empty building with a 10 screen multi-plex as it’s sole tenant.

  19. girthman says:

    Lame idea — exactly what Burien doesn’t need!!! The Burien Transit Center + 10 screen muliti-plex = crime and vandalism. When will the “build it and they will come” mentality end? Look at Town Square….ha!

  20. Steve says:

    I think its a great idea we mine as well do it before one goes up in white center or west seattle. Its bound to happen

  21. David says:

    It sounded good to me initially, but then I look at the other cities that have local theaters. So many have fallen into disarray. Southcenter’s AMC and Kent Station look nice now, but not long ago Regal used to be the nice one. In 7-10 years the theater will be dated and in need of updating. The Town Square has not reached it’s full potential yet. It will in time, but hopefully with a little less commercialism.

  22. John says:

    I like the idea of having a couple cinema’s in Burien but not so sure they have to be all that much. A 2 or 3 screen theater would be about right. Keep it simple, homey, like Burien is. I don’t want my town to turn into another city that wants the big business just so they can say they have the numbers or have the chamber pat themselves on the back. Let’s have a Burien that we can call home, walk around in at night and feel safe. That’s what’s important to me. There’s already one Bellevue and one Seattle, let’s keep Burien small and tight like it should be. If you want all the fancy nightlife go into Seattle I say.

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