The Opelika Planning Commission approved a recent proposal, which would allow the construction of a new theater near Tigertown. Construction is currently scheduled to begin in the fall.
Opelika director of planning Jerry Kelley said the theater is planned to contain 10 screens and seat more than 2,000 people.
“The theater is going to be approximately 38,200 square feet,” Kelley said. “It will take up about 11 acres just off Exit 58, right on the other side of Tigertown.”
A company has yet to be selected to construct the theater.
Before this proposal, there were two failed attempts by Carmike and Revolution Cinemas to successfully establish a new theater in the Auburn-Opelika area.
Kelley also said finances have probably played a big part in past failures.
“I think it’s both an economy thing and a timing thing,” Kelley said. “Location could also have been a factor.”
According to Opelika City Councilman Eddie Smith, a few proposals are being considered by the Planning Commission, along with a few details that need to be decided upon.
“Right now we have Steve Benson, who is the developer of the Capps Farms Subdivision, trying to negotiate a deal to get someone to buy the property,” Smith said. “After it’s purchased, that entity will then lease the land to whichever theater company decides to build there.”
Capps Farms Subdivision is located across from Tigertown, near the Holiday Inn Express and is the primary target to build upon.
Smith added he believes this potential theater would be a great addition to the area and it is a good fit for both locals and non-residents.
“The entertainment business is very popular,” Smith said. “The city of Opelika has the capacity in which to manage a theater and I think that it will attract not only people in town, but people out of town as well. With theaters being in both Opelika and Auburn, it will give the consumer the advantage of choices.”
Although it is not a done deal, this news is being well received by most Auburn students.
Sara McKnight, senior in apparel merchandising, said although she only goes to the movies every so often, having another theater in the Auburn-Opelika area would be a good thing.
“I think it’s a great idea,” McKnight said. “I am actually a little surprised there isn’t one there already. I think having a theater in Tigertown would attract more customers and be more convenient to those who live in Opelika. It would also allow for people to do all of their shopping, eating and entertainment stuff in one location.”
McKnight said costs are a big reason why she does not go to the movies often.
“I believe a theater in a college town should be affordable to college students,” McKnight said. “I know that I would go a lot more if prices weren’t so high. Hopefully, this theater will be a little more price friendly.”