Q&A: What’s the latest news on Studio Movie Grill opening in Citrus Heights?

Studio Movie Grill, Big Lots, Citrus Heights
Construction work is underway at the old Kmart building in Citrus Heights. A new Big Lots and Studio Movie Grill have been approved for the site. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
The addition of a new 49,000-square-foot Studio Movie Grill on Auburn Boulevard near Interstate 80 is likely the most significant commercial project planned for Citrus Heights in 2019, unless announcements are made about development at the old Sylvan Middle School property or redevelopment at Sunrise Mall.

So what’s the latest news on when the new theater will open?

In an update to The Sentinel last month, Studio Movie Grill spokeswoman Lynne McQuaker said the company’s new Citrus Heights location is set to open in the third quarter of 2019. She said the theater will feature 11 screens, with 1,300 seats, and will be the Texas-based company’s seventh location in California.

McQuaker confirmed that construction on the project has yet to begin, with building plans still awaiting final approval from the city. Construction currently underway at the site is related only to Big Lots, which will be located next to the theater. Both will be occupying the former Kmart building at 8501 Auburn Blvd., which closed in 2016.

Plans submitted to the city show the theater will take up roughly half of the existing 90,000-square-feet building on the left side, with the right-rear of the building taken up by a 34,000-square-foot Big Lots store. Two other spots, each between 4,500 to 5,000 square feet, will also be carved into the building’s new layout.

Other improvements and developments are also likely to come to the Auburn Boulevard corridor near Interstate 80, with the city planning its second phase of major roadway improvements in 2020 and Bearpaw Equities recently purchasing a strip mall across from where the movie grill will be located. Additionally, a mostly vacant 2.5-acre area of land on the 8500 block of Auburn Boulevard, also across from the movie grill, was purchased last month by a West Sacramento-based investment and development firm, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

Related: Bearpaw buys up two more commercial plazas on Auburn Blvd; here’s why

The city’s revitalization work on the boulevard, known as the Auburn Boulevard Complete Streets Revitalization Project, will extend from Rusch Park to the Roseville border. The project will cost an estimated $20 million and will likely include similar upgrades as the first phase, which was completed in 2014. That phase extended along the boulevard from Sylvan Corners to Rusch Park and included undergrounding utility wires, adding new street lights, planting over 200 street trees, and installing nearly 10,000 feet of bike lanes and sidewalks.

Other changes could include a new gateway arch and traffic signal that has been proposed on the boulevard in front of the old Kmart building.

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