New theater may debut in township

MARQUETTE – A Dickinson County based developer is scheduled for a review this week of its site plans to build a new 10-screen multiplex theater, which would be expected to open next May in Marquette Township.

The Thomas Theatre Group has erected a sign at 1525 Commerce Drive, just west of the Marq Tran building, where the cinema would be built by contractor Gundlach Champion.

“We’re going to be bringing something pretty major to the area,” said Tom Andes, of the Thomas Theatre Group.

The $6.9 million project would include a 31,667 square-foot theater with 10 screens. With all of the theaters at full capacity, the multiplex would seat 1,115 people. The development would also include 280 parking spaces.

Andes said the theater would bring between 35 to 45 new jobs to the area.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to have another regional project, another regional draw,” said Marquette Township Planner Jason McCarthy.

The Marquette Township Planning Commission will review the project’s site plan for the development when the panel meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the new Marquette Township Community Center, located along Commerce Drive.

“If all goes well Wednesday, they should be able to get their building permit very soon from the county,” McCarthy said.

Andes said the project began in February 2011. A groundbreaking is scheduled for Aug. 22 and a target opening date is May 15, 2014.

“We’ve been working with the developer on this for some time,” McCarthy said. “It’s a niche that’s viable and we’re all excited about it.”

McCarthy said the development fits in well with the township’s plans for its development district and would be built near the residential area of Trowbridge Park and the Cedarville Townhomes. He said residents would be able to walk and ride bicycles to the theater.

“We think it will be a draw for the entire community,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the developers hope to start the project soon and have the building “shelled in” by winter.

Among its properties, the theater company also operates the Tri-City Cinema 8 in Quinnesec and the Willow Creek Cinema 8 in Escanaba.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.