Penticton theatre on track for September opening

Seven-screen cinema complex would replace aging Pen Mar and employ up to 40 people

Pen Mar manager Kerri Milton stands in front of the construction on the new theatre on Westminster Avenue.

Pen Mar manager Kerri Milton stands in front of the construction on the new theatre on Westminster Avenue.

Rainy weather and a cold snap in the winter hasn’t stopped work on what will be Penticton’s new Landmark Cinema theatre.

“Things with the timeline are moving along very well, we don’t have any issues at this moment in time. We are looking at opening in September,” said Fran Holy, Landmark Cinemas national director of marketing and communications.

After years of rumours of a new movie theatre, in September the city along with the Downtown Penticton Association and property owner Vicki Gerrits announced the final piece of the puzzle arrived for a deal to be forged on the land that faces Westminster Avenue.

Environmental certification cleared the final roadblocks for development of what is going to be known as Iron City Square when complete.

The original announcement from Landmark Cinemas said they expected the theatre to open late spring of 2012, then in the winter that changed to late summer of 2012.

“Having gone through construction in New Westminster and West Kelowna, we know where our comfort level is and we are definitely comfortable with September,” said Holy.

The Landmark 8 Cinema complex in West Kelowna opened earlier this month, with a Xtreme theatre that has digital 3D sound and a viewing experience comparable to IMAX. The Penticton theatre draws more comparisons to the cinema that Landmark opened in New Westminster this May.

In December, Landmark Cinema executives came to Penticton to watch as demolition began on the Liquidation World building on Winnipeg Street. The site is now a busy construction area where, with a little vision, one can see the makings of the seven-screen multiplex cinema. Once completed, the theatre will have rocker stadium seats, 7.1 digital sound, large curved screens, RealD 3D in four out of seven screens and the ability to purchase tickets online.

“There will be beautiful rocker seats that are very luxurious and comfortable with lots of leg room. They are very comfortable theatres to sit in and you wont feel crammed in at all,” said Holy.

Holy said there has also been research into parking capabilities, and it has shown there is “ample parking on the theatre lot and around the theatre lot.”

Employees from the Landmark Cinema-owned Pen Mar Cinema Centre on Martin Street will be asked to join the new theatre, and it is expected the number of staff will grow from the current 15 to as many as 40.

As for the old Pen Mar, its days as a theatre will come to an end.

“We are going to have a nice, fond farewell. I know the Pen Mar is not the nicest looking theatre to go to right now, but there is a lot of history there. We are going to say goodbye in a very nice way,” said Holy, adding it will not be left open for second-run showings.