Visalia shopping center seeks megaplex movie theater

Visalia shopping center owner DBO Development is in advanced discussions with three movie theater chains to open a multi-screen theater on the south end of town to anchor the next phase of its Packwood Creek Shopping Center. 

“We expect to have a commitment from one of the chains by February,” said Patrick Orosco of DBO.

Orosco has been marketing the next phase of Packwood Creek — Visalia’s largest retail complex — called The Grove at Packwood Creek, a 25-acre, 278,300 square-foot center with the help of Fresno-based Commercial Retail Associates. Orosco hopes to land big-box national tenants and a large cinema complex. Orosco said he is talking to Regal Cinemas, which already operates both movie theaters in Visalia.

Orosco said the key anchor for The Grove will be the megaplex, which would be well suited for the site offering ample acreage for parking. He maintains that Visalia is losing out to Tulare’s Galaxy Theatre because it is far newer than the Sequoia Mall 12-plex, a 40,000 square-foot theater inside the mall.

Other than the Sequoia Mall, Downtown Visalia has a 10-plex also operated by Regal that works extremely well in the Downtown with its big variety of restaurants within walking distance, encouraging residents to make a night of it and boosting overall traffic.

Orosco said helping to move The Grove project forward is both the improving economy and renewed demand for retail space in Visalia.

But Orosco has seen some tough marketing years for this property during the four years of the recession, not only due to the economic climate but because this land has no Mooney Boulevard frontage. The big draw is Costco east of the big Mooney strip behind Lowes that attracts hoards of shoppers each day.

The new theater would be located right across the street from Costco. As a destination retail use itself, like Costco, the new theater is likely to draw more eateries nearby as well as help sustain the half dozen major restaurants like Mimi’s Cafe and Olive Garden in the Packwood center now. To Orosco, it would bolster the overall rent values at thee center.

Would the new megaplex hurt Downtown? Orosco thinks no but others might disagree.