10-Screen Multiplex Theater May Be Built At Old City Hall Location

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by Ralph Nichols

This week’s action by the King County Council that moves Burien’s planned park-and-ride transit center parking garage closer to reality also improves the possibility that the city may get a 10-screen cinema complex in Town Square.

The proposed multiplex, which would be located on the southwest corner of SW 150th St. and 4th Ave. SW, where the old city hall is located, would require the evening and weekend parking available at the 500-stall garage to be a viable attraction in Burien’s Town Square.

The transit center garage will be built on the northeast corner of SW 150th St. and 4th Ave. SW, across the intersection from the potential theater site. Additional theater parking would be available in the city’s municipal parking lot on SW 150th St. between 6th and 8th Ave. SW.

Los Angeles-based Galaxy Theater Group, whose 100-plus properties include a cinema and food court in Gig Harbor, would build and operate the cinema complex through an arrangement with Urban Partners, the private developer of Town Square.

Urban Partners proposed to the Burien City Council last fall that a multiplex theater, instead of a planned second condominium/retail complex, be built on the vacant Town Square parcel where the Burien/Interim Art Space was located.

A multiplex run by Galaxy Theaters may be built where the old city hall building sits.

The depressed housing and lending markets made it unlikely that a new condominium project could get started within the time frame required by their agreement with the city, principals of Urban Partners told council members.

Following this initial presentation to the City Council, Urban Partners, at the request of Galaxy Theater Group, recommended that the cinema complex be proposed instead for the Town Square parcel currently occupied by the old city hall to be closer to the transit parking garage.

And Galaxy has submitted to the city a preliminary building design configured to the shape of this parcel. It includes 10 screens, a food court – and a separate stage that community groups like Burien Little Theater could use for live productions.

Several council members expressed a strong interest in a stage for live public performances when Galaxy made its initial presentation to the city.

The proposed cinema complex, however, is far from a done deal. There is some concern among council members about building it instead of multi-family housing, as the original Town Square agreement called for, and about the long-term potential for success of such a theater in Burien.

Galaxy Theater Group says a cinema complex in Burien would be supported by a market area west of Interstate 5 from south Seattle to Federal Way with a population of 400,000.

City staff will have to review the proposed design and the City Council then must consider the Urban Partners-Galaxy Theater Group plan – which could include retail and office space – and approve it as an acceptable development alternative for Town Square before a cinema complex can become a reality there.

Should the City Council give a green light to the proposed cinema complex in the next few months, it could be built while the transit center parking garage is also under construction, with both opening at about the same time.

Meanwhile, one thing does seem certain, according to Dick Loman, Burien’s Economic Development Manager:

“We’re damn fortunate here to have this interest in continued development of downtown Burien as a major urban center. It’s exciting.”

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14 Responses to “10-Screen Multiplex Theater May Be Built At Old City Hall Location”
  1. Jay says:

    So much for the Town Square. What’s next, Home Depot!

    • Mark says:

      The main reason for moving to Burien 15 years ago was that it WASN’T a “major urban center”. The more urban it gets, the more transient the population. Gee, now I can’t wait to patronize the theatres and garage….two new locations next to the transit station to get hit up for spare change (like I constantly get at the gas station and Safeway) and will also have to contend with gang bangers and wannabes hanging around. The interim art space and the associated junk on display made the area look like a ghetto; putting in multi-family housing and “big-box” businesses will slowly take away this area’s “soul” (or what remains of it). Would rather see smaller, quaint businesses (more family-style restaurants), but I guess the almighty dollar (and ego-driven politicians) make the final decisions around here. Anybody got a suggestion on a place where small-town values are still important? Thanks in advance!

      • steve says:

        Ua if thats what your looking for then go to Montana or North Datoka were there is no Large population and no real economy. Out where fire and police responce might take 30 or 40 minutes to respond.

      • born in b town says:

        Gang banger were allways in Burien. Nothing new.

  2. Tcb says:

    I can’t imagine you could build 10 big screens on that lot. Are they going to take up both the old city hall and the B/IAS site as well? The 10 screen in Woodinville is HUGE. I don’t think it’s such a good idea. Maybe 4 screens like the one in Ballard. Unless they build 10 small screens, small theatres. Those are terrible.

  3. SD says:

    Hmm…”damn fortunate” is not how I’d feel if I had to live next to a mega theater. Good luck on selling those condos.

  4. Ed Dacy says:

    This is a good idea, if it pencils out it should be built. It gives the youth of our City someplace to go and will support the Restaurants on SW 152. Being next to the Park N Ride will make us of the facility by real people into the evening.

    In the original plan for Twon square it called for a theater, but the teaher at the time did not think it was feaable. If it pencils for Galaxy lets DO IT

    • lulu says:

      Who’s to say Galaxy’s pencil is any sharper than the previous theater’s pencil. Last thing we want is another carcass to look at for years to come (like Lamonts/Gottschalks).

      • Eric says:

        As part of Burien Little Theatre, all I can say is BLT was never asked about the original theater space, nor has anyone ever contacted BLT about a space in the new movie house. Live theater has different requirements than a movie house. Someone at BLT would be happy to discuss those needs.

  5. Zippy says:

    How in the world did we go from Town Square to a major urban center, Loman? Town Square was to be a “town” encompassing three condominium communities with small retail below. Now we’re talking about becoming a run of the mill major urban center. Let’s stick to the original vision and plan, please.

  6. mark says:

    I am so excited to see this theater built . Why anyone wouldn’t want it is a mystery to me and it will ad tax dollars and jobs.

  7. Dixie says:

    I can see both sides of this, but I think the advantages offset the disadvantages. I really miss not having a movie theater in Burien, and with a stage for live theater also, what’s not to like? 10 screens may be a bit excessive, but who’s to say. And as far as more housing and small retail goes, do we see people coming? The idea of “build it and they will come” seems a bit slow in the results catagory. How much of it is due to the ecomomy and how much to excessive pricing??? I personally have a gut feeling there is more to it than the economy.

  8. stephen bersig says:

    I don’t understand what I missed, since building the town square had planned the movie theaters too start with. Also can someone explain how building the theater along with the current downtown and town square make us an urban center and what exactly do we consider an unrban center?

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