Theater could be on the way to re-opening

Everything old is new again.

At least it is at Plaza Twin Cinemas, Port Orchard’s oldest theater, which is moving toward a rebirth after being closed since May 2005.

“We don’t have an agreement yet,” said Jeff Brein, co-owner of Bainbridge Entertainment Enterprises. (His partner is Sam Granato.) “We’re working toward an agreement and trying to figure out whether this is an affordable venture for us.”

Right now, the group is working with owner Robert Geiger to lease the facility this week.

“We’ve discussed some preliminary lease figures,” Brein said. “I think we’re in agreement with basic terms and I think Bob recognizes that.”

And if the sale goes through, the first step is renovating the theater — from the carpet to the ceilings.

“If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right,” he said. “The theater is very old, it has some charm and is in a nifty downtown location, but any movie theater in seven to 10 years, you have to come in and do some significant cleaning.

“It can use some renewed sprucing up.”

Brein said they have yet to get cost estimates, but explained that if it were a new theater built from scratch, it would be about $50,000 per screen. Even with planned upgrades to the sound and projection equipment, the theater benefits from having everything already in place.

“There have been a lot of advancements over the years that we can take advantage of,” he said.

Brein said they hope to lease by the holidays — the second-highest grossing period of the year.

“People like to go to the movies because the weather isn’t great and the producers give us some good movies,” he explained. “If we can get all these issues taken care of, that’s the time table we would be interested in.”

And if they purchase the theater, it won’t be Bainbridge Entertainment Enterprises’ only offering. Their Bainbridge Theaters group runs several locations around the state. The first opened on Bainbridge Island more than 10 years ago.

“Most of them are theaters in small communities that don’t have a lot of direct competition,” Brein said, adding that if they open downtown, “we need to be sensitive to Regal.”

“It doesn’t do us or Regal any favors to show the same movies.”

Therefore, they look to a similar model already set up at their Historic Lynwood Theater — an offering of art and independent films.

“We’re not looking at a bunch of foreign films with subtitles,” he said. “We’re looking at a good mainstream product that a lot of places like Regal might not be interested in showing.”

Which leads to the next question: Is Port Orchard interested in those types of films?

Brein sure hopes so.

“When we have a market with people out of the teenage-going category, a lot of them respond to the types of movies that independent theaters are showing,” he said. “As we see populations where a reasonable amount is adults and senior citizens in an educated area, they respond well to these types of theaters.

“You put all that together in downtown Port Orchard — we think there’s a market there for that.”

And he feels the revitalization of downtown might lend a hand to his plan.

“We’re encouraged by what we see in downtown Port Orchard and some of what of the business owners down there are telling us.”

“If you’re looking at revitalizing any part of downtown, movie theaters are a good anchor,” he said.

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