Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: In what universe do we need more theaters?

Letter by Lisa Kelley, Tacoma on Aug. 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm with 7 Comments »
August 23, 2010 3:19 pm

On Saturday night, my son and I went to see “Inception” at a local multiplex with about 30 other people in the theater. Much of the film takes place in a dreamworld inside the characters’ heads. How appropriate, then, to awaken to my Sunday News Tribune with the story about how Tacoma boosters want to build another multiplex theater, with parking, smack dab in downtown Tacoma.

I wondered if I was dreaming, too, when I read that we’re “underserved” with movie theaters in this community. Have any of the city and civic boosters actually been to the movies lately? Have there been long lines, or not enough seats anywhere? I know for sure that I’ve never been to a real theater that was even remotely full in Tacoma. Maybe in the dreamland City of Destiny, there are queues of folks lining up to see the latest blockbuster, but I sure haven’t noticed. And never mind the local theaters that have closed down for lack of business.

It is downright surreal to encourage hordes of moviegoers to drive their cars and park downtown in another behemoth parking lot. This is inconsistent with other city plans encouraging walking and biking, like the Prairie Line Trail, and using the Link and Pierce Transit – which is what “real” city dwellers do everywhere else. Since Tollefson Plaza needs something to do, maybe the Parallel Universe Megaplex could be sited there?

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  1. Copper2Steel says:

    I agree, Ms. Kelley.

    Plus, as if it weren’t inconvenient enough to do business in downtown Tacoma, the City is going to take away blocks of free parking and install parking meters. While I might be inclined to scrounge for parking so I could go to a unique theater like The Grand, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to go to a run-of-the-mill multiplex downtown.

  2. Look at the people that you elected to your City Council !

    Perhaps they are building it for all of the Illegal criminals that they have welcomed with open arms ?

    1st run Spanish language movies, anyone ?

  3. scott0962 says:

    Oh but you’re missing the point. The urban boosters who think more people should live downtown want a multi-plex cinema within walking distance of their downtown lofts. Never mind that they don’t generate enough business to keep existing theaters open downtown or that theaters have been closing all over the area for lack of patrons.

    As for attracting people from outside the urban core area, good luck with that when there are several good alternatives within in an easy drive with free parking and are on bus routes.

  4. When I travel anywhere, my personal safety is foremost in my mind.

  5. Daisydog says:

    Frippin Insanity. We want we want we want. Well this is what you got: a city with a downtown core in a death spiral. Now some wak job has the idea for a “Mutliplex theater”– I would have imagined a grocery store would be first, like a mutli screen theater will make me wanna drive to downtown, sip an espresso in a bistro, stop by the museum of glass (Which is consistently raked across the coals in many travel web sites as being overpriced and worth about a 20 min trip, not counting the gift shop), and go look at the car museum dirt pile. Oh yeah baaaaaaby, downtown tacoma is where it’s happening. Lisa kelly wrote a fine letter!

  6. The last time I was in Tollefson Plaza, there was a bunch of letters to construct words. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

    As far as a theater, unless it’s a full screen IMAX, then I don’t see a reason for building one yet. There’s still too much competition, and not enough people living downtown right now to make a go of it.

  7. nivisonm says:

    One thing people seem to be missing here is that when you went to that empty theater, you were seeing a movie that came out weeks ago. It’s not exactly shocking that it wasn’t standing room only. Movies are often sold out in our area, actually. Note also that I say “our area” not “in Tacoma” because the theaters that actually draw crowds are in Lakewood and Auburn. It takes around 20 minutes to get to a big, first run theater, because let’s face it, the one on Mildred isn’t exactly the most modern theater. While The Grand is a great theater, it serves a specific niche.

    A downtown theater would put that a lot of great restaurants within walking distance, making the concept of “dinner and a movie” an actual possibility in this city. It can also serve the UWT community. And for those who say there aren’t enough people living downtown for it to work, maybe things like movie theaters–and dare I even suggest a grocery store!–would make it a more livable place.

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