Major redevelopment proposed for movie theater site | September 13, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - September 13, 2013

Major redevelopment proposed for movie theater site

by Daniel DeBolt

If a developer wins approval, the Century 16 movie theaters on Shoreline Boulevard may soon be demolished to make way for a new theater, fitness resort, offices and a hotel.

The proposal from SyWest Development and Cinemark came as a surprise to city officials, who learned about it in a press release last week describing plans for a new "state-of-the-art 16-screen movie theater" along with a "premier resort style" athletic club in a 130,000-square-foot campus.

Phase two of the project would include so-called class-A office space and a hotel.

The announcement could make another developer, Merlone Geier, take a second look at plans for an eight-screen theater as part of its second phase of development at San Antonio Shopping Center, a project set to go before of the City Council on Oct. 29.

Century has been operating a movie theater on the site for over 50 years, said Cinemark CEO Tim Warner in a press release. The location was home to a drive-in theater built in 1962, which was later replaced by a multi-screen theater in 1984.

"Now, we are thrilled to introduce a new state-of-the-art Century movie theatre to our guests in Mountain View. This complex will feature our new NextGen concept which offers the latest technology and cutting-edge amenities, including a Cinemark XD auditorium," said Warner.

The movie theaters on the site were once owned by the family now proposing to build the fitness resort. The Syufy family sold the Century movie theater chain in 2007, and is now planning to build the fitness center in Mountain View,as well as others in Redwood City and Roseville.

"VillaSport is much more than fitness; we are truly a place for families to gather and socialize with their neighbors," said VillaSport CEO and president Joseph Syufy, in a press release. "It is the only place where fitness, family and community all come together. Our resort-style campus and unsurpassed programs, equipment and amenities are the perfect fit for this market and we are thrilled to have Mountain View as the second location in our planned network of Bay Area clubs."

Planning director Randy Tsuda said the City Council has to approve the project (a "gatekeeper request" is scheduled for the Sept. 17 council meeting), but judging by the tone of the press release, the developers aim to send a message that the project is definitely in the works to open in March of 2015.

"It's ambitious," Tsuda said of the timeline. That's because the City Council has set a policy against approving new development in the Shoreline area until new zoning standards are adopted at the end of 2014.

More details were included in a "gatekeeper request" letter the developer sent to the city on Wednesday, which notes that the city's new general plan would allow up to eight stories to be built and as much as 1.5 million square feet of development on the 15.35-acre site. A 64,400-square-foot theater and 88,000-square-foot fitness resort would replace the existing 90,000-square-foot theater, which would remain in operation until construction on the new theater is complete. Structured parking, a hotel and office development along Highway 101 are proposed for the second phase of the project. The developer says discussions are already underway with potential office tenants and hotel operators.

Tsuda said the developers do not own the buildings at the corner of Plymouth Avenue and Shoreline Boulevard that house the Sports Page and several restaurants, or the tilt-ups that house numerous businesses along Shoreline Boulevard at Highway 101.

Email Daniel DeBolt at