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Free Parking : Century City Shop Mall to Add Theaters, Food Hall

April 06, 1986|BUSTER SUSSMAN

The Century City Shopping Center, once a part of the historic back lot of 20th Century Fox studios, is about to move into the 21st Century.

As part of a $25-million, long-range renovation program, two new buildings totaling 92,000 square feet, will be constructed in the mall--a 14-screen movie complex and an adjoining international food hall. Both buildings are expected to be ready by September, 1987.

Together, they are designed to increase the shopping center's evening and weekend business. In addition, the project will serve Century City's 35,000 office workers and 3,000 residents.

Wide Choice of Foods

The $5-million, 68,300-square-foot movie complex will be built on the northwest corner of the center by American Multi-Cinema Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMC Entertainment Inc.

The international food hall will include 35 food purveyors selling gourmet and take-home food, as well as five restaurants: French bistro, Italian cafe, seafood, delicatessen/market and continental cuisine. There will also be an international sporting goods retailer, a health and fitness center and boutiques targeted to an upscale audience.

The design will be compatible to California's outdoor life style, said Michael F. Strle, the center's general manager. Although the food hall will be covered, there will be an open, airy feeling with natural ventilation. In addition, the hall will have the atmosphere of a European festival, complete with colorful banners.

The availability of free parking is the shopping center's big advantage over other West Side retailers and movie complexes, Strle said. The center's two levels of parking can handle 3,200 cars.

The movie complex will consist of 14 theaters, including four 500-seat auditoriums and the others ranging in size from 175 to 450 seats.

All sight lines will be computer-calculated, and seating will feature beverage holder armrests.

The larger auditoriums will be equipped with 70-millimeter projection and Dolby stereo surround-sound systems. The other screens will present 35-millimeter prints with Dolby stereo surround-sound capability.

Appeal to All Ages

Ron Leslie, president and chief operating officer of AMC Entertainment, said that the 14 screens will make it possible for the theater to offer films that will appeal to the wide range of age and other groups attracted to a shopping center as large as Century City's.

AMC has allotted space within the theater for the sale of film-related merchandise, such as posters, T-shirts and movie memorabilia.

According to Strle, these two projects are the third and final phase of a renovation planned by Rosenberg Real Estate Equity Fund, a San Francisco-based pension fund adviser that purchased the 22-year old shopping center in the spring of 1983. Phases 1 and 2 involved repainting, new signage and new graphics in the garages, four skylight shade structures, repaving of mall surfacing, new planters and new banner poles.

Other Major Projects

In addition, 22 new mall shops have been constructed to complement existing retailers.

This is the first West Coast project for the architect, Benjamin Thompson & Associates of Cambridge, Mass. The firm, known for its festive marketplaces designed Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston; South Street Seaport, New York City, and Harbor Place, Baltimore, among others.

Thompson said that the restaurants will open out to Santa Monica Boulevard, giving the center a new entrance and a more open image.

The project is being coordinated by the Los Angeles architectural firm of James Pulliam & Associates.

Dinwiddie Construction Co. of San Francisco is the contractor.

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