Lease Signed for 10-Screen Mall Complex


Pacific Theatres, which is building a 20-screen multiplex in Chatsworth that will be one of the San Fernando Valley’s largest movie theaters, announced Tuesday it has signed a long-term lease to operate a new 10-screen theater only a mile away at Northridge Fashion Center.

The deal makes teammates out of Pacific Theatres and MEPC America Properties, owners of the Northridge mall, and previously rivals for domination of the West Valley movie business.

Neil S.B. Haltrecht, Pacific Theatres’ vice president of real estate, said it was a mutual decision to join forces after recent discussions. He refused to reveal details of the lease, saying only that its duration is for more than 30 years.


“We saw this as an opportunity to create a true destination in the West Valley,” Haltrecht said. “The two theaters should complement each other.”

Just a month ago, Haltrecht told The Times that the area would be saturated with cinema seats when Pacific’s theater in Chatsworth, initially planned for 25 screens, was built. On Tuesday, he said the area will be able to support the total of 30 screens housed in the two theater complexes.

Representatives of Dallas-based MEPC America Properties were unavailable for comment late Tuesday.

Pacific Theatres is now building a state-of-the-art megaplex at the southwest corner of Winnetka Avenue and Prairie Street in Chatsworth to replace the former Winnetka 6 Drive-In. The theater will now have 20 screens--with a total of 5,900 seats--including two 700-seat auditoriums and one with 500 seats. Its opening date was pushed back from mid-August to Thanksgiving after plans were redrawn, Haltrecht said.

The owners of Northridge Fashion Center plan to tear down the Robinsons-May Home Store in the northwest corner of the mall to make room for the movie theater, scheduled to open in the summer of 1998. Initially planned for as many as 20 to 24 screens, it will now have 10 with a total of 2,800 seats--including two 500-seat auditoriums, according to Haltrecht.

A six-screen theater at the mall, which was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, never reopened.