Movie Theater a ‘Priority Project' for Santee Leaders

The theater – a project long in the works for the community – would be located along Town Center Drive near San Diego Christian College and the Parc One apartments

After two decades of having only a drive-in movie theater, the city of Santee is finally getting closer to building an indoor theater – a project that’s a top priority for local leaders.

Approximately 58,000 people live in Santee and the city said that many of those residents want a movie theater built in the community.

There was once a movie theater on Mission Gorge Road but it was torn down. So, for the last 20 years or so, the Santee Drive-In Theatre on Woodside Avenue has been the only place to catch a movie.

Fletcher Hills resident Gaye B. remembers that old theater well.

“It was an AMC Theaters over by the Vons shopping center,” she recalled. “We lined up around the block for that theater.”

Although Gaye B. doesn’t live in Santee, she spends a lot of time there. She can’t wait for the new theater to be built.

If all goes according to plan, the movie theater would be located along Town Center Drive, near San Diego Christian College and the Parc One apartment complex. The theater would feature luxury seats, a restaurant, a bar and in-seat dining.

While the project is highly-anticipated by some residents, others are indifferent about it. Parc One resident Harrison Ta said having the theater near his home wouldn’t be a big deal, especially because there is a theater not far away in El Cajon.

“I do feel it’s a little unnecessary because we have a movie theater just over in Parkway Plaza which is maybe about, not even a 10-minute drive from here,” said Ta.

The long-awaited project has experienced some hurdles.

The company the city chose to develop the new theater recently backed out of the deal. Now, leaders are in negotiations with the Texas-based company, Studio Movie Grill.

They hope to have an agreement drafted to present to before the city council by late spring and to have the theater built and ready to open within the next year.

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