Workers on Friday were taking down some of the accoutrements that adorned the Edwards Cinemas 6, a staple in Rancho Santa Margarita for years. The theater, struggling to make a profit, closed following Thursday performances.
Never fear, movie fans, there's a new theater that's going to take its place.
Cinépolis, which is the fourth-largest theater operation in the world, has plans to move into the building and offer residents a luxury movie experience.
There were more than 1,400 seats inside the Regal-owned Edwards, but plans call for that total to be reduced to 509 oversized seats. Not only will theater-goers get a ticket, they'll also get a waiter.
Yeah, it's going to be really different.
The high-end luxury theater Cinépolis is just starting to make inroads into the American market. It's a huge player in Mexico and India, as well as South America. There is one Cinépolis currently open in the U.S.: Del Mar. Another one, in La Costa, is scheduled to open by the first of February.
In construction is a theater in Laguna Niguel, with proposed sites in RSM and Westlake Village.
The architect, Brandon Dedmon of SMS Architects in Irvine, says it takes about six months to convert a theater, and although there is no specific date yet set for a Cinépolis opening in RSM, it's a fair bet that the theater house would love to be in business for the July 4 blockbuster movie blitz.
Nate Farnsworth, senior planner for the city, said he doesn't expect anything to stand in the way of the conversion of the property. Cinépolis has applied for conditional use permits to sell liquor and to create an outdoor dining area.
Those permits should be addressed by the planning commission on Feb. 1, and if not then, certainly on the meeting of March 7. The remodeling, though, can begin before those dates.
The new theater could be a game-changer for the Town Center.
"This development should be the impetus for creating a gathering place for the entire community," Farnsworth said. "This project will help attract a lot more attention to ths area, which in turn will help the other tenants out there.
"It's scaled toward the upper class. It's been very successful in Del Mar."
The facade changes and interior renovation that Cinepolis has proposed will provide quite a contrast from what currently exists.
The plan calls for a remodeling of the 33,000 sq. foot, six-screen theater and adding enhanced food specialties and beverage service, including alcoholic beverages. Alcohol will be confined to the lobby, specific auditoriums, and a fenced in 800 sq. foot outdoor dining area.
The existing auditoriums will be converted into luxury stadium auditoriums. The seating capacity will be reduced from 1,472 to 509 which will help ease parking issues at Town Center.
The existing ticket booth will be removed and replaced with a new store front and new entry doors. All ticket purchasing will take place within the lobby area. Food and services are available to customers whether they purchase admission to a seat in one of the auditoriums. New building signage will be installed above the main entry doors.