With the Galaxy Narrows Theater closing today, could a new theater open nearby at University Place’s Town Center?
“It’s still a possibility, but I don’t want to say it’s a strong possibility,” said City Attorney Steve Victor, whose been involved in negotiations to land tenants at the mixed-use development on Bridgeport Way.
The closure leaves Tacoma and its immediate surrounding area without a mainstream theater, although one is planned at Point Ruston.
Victor said three theater chains other than Cinemark, which announced plans last year to construct a nine-screen multiplex at Point Ruston last year under its Century brand, have expressed interest in the property. One has been in contact with the city this month, he said, and another checked in late last year.
“They continue to assess the market,” he said.
City officials would love to have a movie theater come in because it would serve as a main attraction to help bring private development into Town Center. The city has invested more than $40 million in public dollars into the development to grow the city’s tax base, absorb future growth and provide residents a central gathering place.
Private developers are constructing a mixed-use building on one side of the civic and library building and are in negotiations to construct a second similiar building on the other side. Both buildings would feature ground-floor retail space. A coffee shop has leased space inside the civic and library building.
The theater chains in contact with the city are interested in the lot that now holds University Place’s city offices and the lot on the corner of Bridgeport and 35th Street West, Victor said.
Victor said he doubts the closure of the Galaxy theater will boost momentum behind getting a multiplex in Town Center, however.
Meanwhile, the theater’s imminent closing represents a financial hit to the city.
Finance Director Eric Faison said the theater was the biggest generator of admissions tax for University Place. He said state revenue rules prohibit him from exactly how much it generated. The city budgeted $210,000 in admission tax this year, but that lumps in other uses, including the Chambers Bay Golf Course and cover charges to bars and lounges.
The city must account for the revenue loss in its budget, but it’s still early in the year, Faison said.
“We’ll make adjustments if we need to throughout the year administratively,” he said.
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