An entertainment company with international ties will venture into the United States soon with a complex in the Exchange that will offer a wide variety of films with luxury seating and a full-service restaurant and lounge.
Five-Star Cinema has signed a lease to open in the former Mann 10 theater complex and the adjacent former Salo-Salo Grill for a total of about 60,000 square feet of space.
The high-end project is expected to open this fall, said Armen Mkrtchian, owner of Five Star Cinema.
The company has 13 locations in Russia and Armenia, Mkrtchian said.
The Salo-Salo Grill has been closed for several months. The business apparently was evicted, according to a posting in the front-door window last summer.
Vintage Cinemas has been leasing eight of the screens in the 10-theater complex since September.
Under Five Star's plans, each of the 10 theaters will have roomy, reclining seats and small tables, where patrons can eat and drink, Mkrtchian said, adding that the restaurant will have a fully-stocked bar.
The theater will screen a variety of movies, including first-run features, foreign films, independent movies and maybe some documentaries, Mkrtchian said.
Work has already started in the former Salo-Salo Grill, where workers have demolished the interior.
Crews were starting to work inside the theater complex on Wednesday.
One striking feature in the plans is a fountain in the courtyard outside the complex. There will be seating around the fountain and a sculpture may be incorporated, Mkrtchian said.
The company's first entertainment complex opened in 1998 in Russia and featured five theaters, five restaurants, a bowling alley and a children's play area, he said.
Greg Astorian, who handles leasing at the Exchange, said the large parking structure that the city built 20 years ago using redevelopment funds is a significant reason that Five Star chose the Exchange.
"That's a great example of how a redevelopment [project] can serve the purpose it was created for, and [continue] years later," he said.
Five Star plans to eventually open five entertainment centers in the United States. The next one probably will be in New York City, Mkrtchian said.
But a final decision on additional locations hinges on the success of the Glendale complex.
"It all depends on how this works out," he said.