SOLEDAD — Soledad residents will soon not have to drive more than 20 minutes to see a movie on the big screen. Groundbreaking for the movie theater complex at the corner of Nestles and Los Coches roads is set for this Saturday, Sept. 28.
The groundbreaking ceremony will occur at 10 a.m. followed by a small reception with city officials. The public is invited to attend.
It is the newest movie theater in Soledad since 1989, which is when the last one closed. It only had one screen. The only theater in South County is the one in King City, which has three screens.
The new building that will encompass the new Soledad theater, according to Soledad Mayor Fred Ledesma, will have 10 screens and premier first-run movies. The new cineplex will not only serve the region but improve quality of life in South County, he added. A new theater is what the city has lacked for years, he said.
“The movie theater creates a real opportunity for South County,” Ledesma said, adding that the cineplex will include retail space. “There’s not much to do here.”
The theater project is the work of Ted Intravia and Richard Scagliotti, who Ledesma described as “low key kind of guys.” They both run Hollister-based Premiere Cinemas. The two also run an additional theater in Los Banos.
Soledad’s theater will screen brand new major Hollywood flicks and some Hispanic films to accommodate the city’s large Latino population, Ledesma said.
Grading for construction in the lot is currently underway.
Ledesma said he expects the theater to open sometime in the later summer or fall of 2020, maybe as late as November of that year, if things go as planned.
It is still too early to tell if the theater will include some of the modern amenities you see in other places, such as reclining seats. Ledesma said it is a step toward boosting tourism, which he said will become a huge part of the economy in the coming years.
“For people that are traveling,” Ledesma said, “they’re probably looking for other things to do, like going to see a movie, and they won’t have to go to Salinas or Monterey.”