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Posted 13 Jul 10 By: No comments yet

Multiplex Theater Planned for Rio Rancho

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 

Multiplex Theater Planned for Rio Rancho

 By Rosalie Rayburn

Journal Staff Writer         

 RIO RANCHO – For more than 10 years, Rio Rancho movie theater buffs have had to trek out of town to get their flick fix. That could change if city councilors approve a Texas-based plan to build a 14-screen, 2,750-seat cineplex at Southern and Unser.Councilors are expected to consider the plan this week. Premiere Cos. of Big Spring is an independently owned cinema company with 18 theater complexes throughout Texas, Alabama and Florida. Rio Rancho would be its first New Mexico location.Company founder Gary Moore said in an e-mail that Rio Rancho fit his company's criteria."We look for markets that are large enough to support their own multiplex and try to fill a void in the market," Moore said. Premiere's planned 46,595-square-foot movieplex will feature all-digital projection equipment, Real D 3-D technology and high-back rocking love seats with retractable armrests, Moore said. A fact sheet provided by city spokesman Peter Wells said the plan allows for expansion to 18 screens with 3,150 seats. The project is expected to open in May, creating seven full-time and 50 part-time jobs. Rio Rancho, whose population is nearing 80,000, has been without a movie theater since the Rio Rancho Twin Cinema at Southern and N.M. 528 closed in August 1998. Since then, the nearest cinemas have been Movies West on Coors and the Starport 9 at Cottonwood Mall, both in Albuquerque. City officials have touted several plans for another cinema, including one in the new city center, but none has been built. Moore said he first considered Rio Rancho in 2007 but backed off when he discovered another group had plans to build a theater near the site. When he learned the other group had decided not to build, Moore said he acquired the 8.4-acre site just south of the Chili's restaurant.

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