On target for November opening

by: Photo by Holly M. Gill - Construction workers for Skyward Construction, of  Ridgefield, Wash., work on the exterior of the new Madras Cinema 5 building, at the center of Jefferson Square on South U.S. Highway 97, next to the KFC/A&W.  The $3.5 million building will house five auditoriums, with a total of 425 seats, and be equipped with surround sound. Theater owner Chuck Nakvasil, of Portland, anticipates a mid-November opening for the cineplex, which will employ about a dozen people.

   Walls are up, and construction on Madras' first cinema complex is proceeding at a brisk pace, on target for a November opening.
   Madras Cinema 5 will be the centerpiece in the Jefferson Square business development, which includes the KFC-A&W on the northwest corner of the 3.88-acre property, along U.S. Highway 97, just north of Bard Lane.
   "So far, we're on target. We're hoping to open Nov. 15," said Chuck Nakvasil, of Portland, who is building the $3.5 million project. He also owns five theaters in the Portland area, as well as a seven-plex in Scappoose, and an eight-plex in Canby.
   Skyward Construction Inc., of Ridgefield, Wash., which built the Canby Cinema 8 for Nakvasil, is building the local theater complex.
   Both the Canby and Madras theaters were designed by architect James Blissett, founder of Design Collective, a Seattle-based firm that specializes in cinemas.
   "Madras has the best theater architect in the United States," said Nakvasil, noting that the Canby theater was featured in the Film Journal International magazine earlier this year.
   Comparing the Madras and Canby theaters, Blissett said they will be "similar in the sense that the quality's going to be the same, but the look is going to be different."
   The Madras Cinema 5 differs from Canby's in that it will have a clock tower, and be part of a shopping plaza, said Blissett, of Seattle, who has been designing theaters across the country for the past 15 years.
   Theaters can have very positive impacts on communities, he pointed out. "The bottom line is, cinemas are one of those rare building types that can bring a lot of people together at one time," Blissett said. "Businesses see their business increase when the cinemas open."
   Local residents will no longer have to travel half an hour or more to watch first-run movies in a nice location. "Chuck's theaters are going to be nicer than anything around," he said.
   All five auditoriums, with a total of 425 seats, will be equipped with Dolby digital surround sound, high-back rockers, and stadium seating. One auditorium will feature digital projection for 3D film presentations.
   The projection booth will be located on the second-story mezzanine, along with space for two offices and storage room.
   "It's all automated, so one person can control everything," said Blissett.
   Nakvasil intends to hire about a dozen people for the cinema complex, including a manager, assistant manager, and a projectionist, who will also be a concessionaire during down time.
   "We'll probably start the interview process in October," he said, adding, "I definitely want to hire by Nov. 1."
   Scott Goodrich, Jefferson Square developer, is working to find tenants for future phases of the project.
   "There's interest in all of the retail," he said. "The challenge is, we can fill a lot of it, but we can't fill all of it yet. Until we have all of it filled, we can't build the next phase."
   Goodrich is hopeful that the next tenant to confirm will be for the southwest pad -- where a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot building, such as a bank, or restaurant will be located.
   Before he proceeds with repairs on Bard Lane, he is awaiting city approval on the civil engineering for the site. "We'll probably be doing the site work in September and October," he said.
   In the next phase, he expects to improve 200 feet of Bard Lane, with sidewalks on the north side, and curbs on the south side, beginning at Highway 97. The final phase will include paving and improving Bard Lane all the way to South Adams Drive.
   "We're very pleased with the way things are going," said Goodrich. "Skyward is easy to work with, and Chuck is very easy to work with, and still excited about it."
   Nakvasil agrees that he is enthusiastic about the location for his new cineplex. "We're going to love Madras, Oregon," he said.
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