Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 --- 8:00 a.m.
From NBC15's News Partner, The Star (in Sun Prairie):
By Chris Mertes
Marcus Theatres on Monday, Aug. 24 announced it has signed an agreement to purchase roughly 16 acres of land in the 100-acre Prairie Lakes development on the city's west side.
Marcus in considering constructing a megaplex entertainment destination to replace its Eastgate Cinema property, although that property will remain in operation until the new theatre opens.
The new entertainment destination will feature 16 movie screens, including a 70-foot wide UltraScreen, in-theatre dining, and a full-service restaurant and bar.
"The Prairie Lakes development is one of two sites in the Madison area we are contemplating," remarked Bruce J. Olson, president of Marcus Theatres.
"The Prairie Lakes site offers excellent visibility and accessibility and inclusion in a high-quality development. A final determination has not yet been made, but this site does offer additional options and flexibility to building an entertainment destination our guests will enjoy without the added challenge and financial risk of developing the surrounding property ourselves, which would be required with the other site," Olson added.
"What's happened is we needed to understand if there were alternatives . . . to the site we were working very hard on in Madison," remarked Katie Falvey, Director of Real Estate for Marcus Theatres Corp., in an interview on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The site Falvey and Olson referred to is a 26-acre site known as "The Crossing" at Nelson Road and Highway 151 on Madison's east side.
Marcus retains an option to purchase that site and has obtained approval from the Madison Urban Design Commission, the City of Madison Planning Commission and the Madison City Council on the general development plan.
However, Marcus Theatres has not yet begun the second round of approvals required on the specific implementation plan for the Madison parcel. Falvey echoed concerns expressed by Olson that the requirement to develop the land surrounding the entertainment complex was a concern to the company.
With a seven-week Sun Prairie approval timeline from the date Marcus makes its initial proposal, Falvey said the Sun Prairie process is much less complicated than that of the City of Madison.
"The community and the site are very viable alternatives," Falvey said. The site in question overlooks Highway 151 and is much more visible than The Crossing site in Madison.
However, Falvey stopped short of affirming that Marcus will definitely move its Eastgate Cinemas to Sun Prairie. "We have not chosen to move to Sun Prairie. We've merely reached an agreement with the property owner (to purchase land)," she said during an interview on Tuesday, Aug. 25.