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Sentinel staff report–
Following months of dormant construction at the future site of a new 49,000-square-foot Studio Movie Grill in Citrus Heights, heavy equipment and construction fencing now occupy the area next to Big Lots where the theater will be built.
Lynne McQuaker, spokeswoman for the Texas-based movie theater chain, on Tuesday confirmed plans for the new Studio Movie Grill to open in the second quarter of 2020. She said the theater will feature 12 screens and a total of 1,252 seats.
The new theater is part of Studio Movie Grill’s latest expansion, which will include at least seven new locations nationwide, McQuaker said. According to a news release, the Citrus Heights location will feature “a modern, comfortable setting with a dedicated bar-lounge and the very best viewing experience,” along with the chain’s signature in-theater dining.
The addition of the theater on the northern end of Auburn Boulevard is a major step in the revitalization of the former Kmart shopping center and an indication of what’s to come along the boulevard in the future, according to Meghan Huber, the city’s economic development manager.
“Studio Movie Grill is a huge catalyst for Auburn Boulevard and it creates an entertainment destination to add to our already bustling business activity,” Huber told The Sentinel on Wednesday, noting the recent addition of Tea It across the street. “We fully expect to see the synergy of that center to continue to increase and permeate the boulevard.”
Huber also noted the city’s plans for a $22 million upgrade to the boulevard and yet-to-be-announced development at the 12-acre former Sylvan Middle School property at Sylvan Corners.
She also said facade and patio improvements have been proposed for several aging storefronts to the right of Gold’s Gym, located in the same shopping center as Studio Movie Grill, with partial funding coming from the city’s “Activate Auburn” grant program. The future of the former Smart & Final store in the same shopping center has yet to be confirmed.
A divisible 5,000-square-foot restaurant-retail space will also be carved out between Studio Movie Grill and Big Lots, along with another divisible 4,500-square-foot space to the right of Big Lots. Both have yet to be leased, according to a property listing on the Red Mountain Group’s website.
“I think the next couple years are going to be pretty exciting,” said Huber.
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