Menifee to open entertainment complex in developing ‘downtown’ area

An entertainment complex featuring the largest movie screen in California is making its way to Menifee.

Menifee’s planning commission approved the creation of the Krikorian Theater Retail Commercial Center at their meeting Wednesday evening. The center will bring 170,410 square feet of theaters, restaurants, bars and bowling alleys to Menifee Town Center, the city’s future downtown area.

George Krikorian, manager and president of Showprop Menifee the group applying for the creation of the entertainment center, said he wanted to create a high-end viewing experience in the city of Menifee. He said each theater auditorium will be spacious, and all seating in the theaters will have reclining, electronic seats so visitors can lounge around in comfort.

He added that one of these movie auditoriums will have a 100-foot-wide screen – the largest in California.

“What it does do is provide the community with an incredible viewing experience that no one else can get anywhere else right now, in the state of California,” he said. “We are really proud about that.”

Krikorian also said he envisions the ability for moviegoers to order their tickets and food in advance, as one would make a restaurant reservation, in the theater complex.

“They have full in-seat dining,” he said. “So you can enjoy a nice drink, food made from scratch, and I think people will be very pleased when they see what our menus are going to be.”

In addition to theaters, Krikorian added there will be bowling lanes for casual bowlers and a laser tag arena for children to play in. The complex will also include sports bars and outdoor patios.

“When you put them all together, it’s going to be a very unique entertainment facility,” Krikorian said.

Construction of the complex will be in phases over the next few years.

Phase I will see the creation of a 122,090-square-foot commercial center, Krikorian Premiere Theater, which will include 12 movie auditoriums, its own dining options, a 9,320-square-foot sports bar, a 7,200-square-foot gaming area and a 22-lane bowling alley. According to the project’s specific plan, the theater will operate every day, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

In addition, Phase I will initiate the construction of an 8,600-square-foot restaurant and a 12,500-square-foot multi-tenant building for a bank and quick-service restaurant. A 4,676-square-foot outdoor plaza will also be constructed under Phase I.

Phase II will see the expansion of the theater to 135,310 square feet, which will add four more movie auditoriums. However, Phase II will not be developed until off-site parking for construction is made available at the vacant County Courthouse project site, immediately south of the commercial center.

Phase II will also add two 7,000-square-foot buildings for retail or quick-service restaurants and another outdoor plaza at 4,367 square feet.

Commissioner Chris Thomas said he was concerned Phase II could not be completed in a timely fashion because it was tied to the County Courthouse project.

Earl Phillips, vice chair of the commission, suggested the plan be amended in order to include a parking structure so the complex could be built all at once.

Krikorian said he was willing to listen to recommendations from the planning commission in order to complete the complex all at once, but added that the construction of a parking structure would not be economically viable.

The planning commission approved the commercial center despite its dependence on the County Courthouse project for parking during construction.

Timothy Dalton, executive director of the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was excited for the project and thinks it will jump-start development in Menifee.

“This is the type of project that Menifee needs that will just drive further development, be a regional draw,” he said. “We’re excited for this project to get started.”

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