The fate of the proposed second theater project in Atascadero remains undecided as the city looks into potential alternatives for the downtown parcel that La Plaza Cinemas was slated to occupy.
The La Plaza application for a 10-screen movie theater across from the Sunken Gardens along El Camino Real has not been withdrawn, according to the city, nor has the City Council rejected it. Its discussion was once planned for Tuesday’s agenda, but city staff removed it, and parcel negotiations continue.
The council must grant or deny the application by Nov. 27, according to permit application deadlines.
The council — sitting as Atascadero’s Redevelopment Agency — directed City Manager Wade McKinney to negotiate with the Hoff family for its 1.6-acre property on El Camino Real and Atascadero Avenue.
It’s the same lot that housed the North County Christian Thrift Store before it burned in March 2009.
A chance for the public to weigh in on a potential agency purchase decision could be two weeks away, McKinney said.
The talks are for “alternative projects” for the site, according to the city, and specifics have not been disclosed.
It is not clear if La Plaza applicant Larry Wysong is part of those talks. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Redevelopment Agency is able to purchase, lease or sell land in its district, McKinney said.
July was the last time the public heard of plans for the Hoff parcel. That was when the much-debated La Plaza proposal came to a head as the council and Wysong disagreed on what was necessary to move the theater forward.
The proposal has been met with some push-back from the public because it would put La Plaza and Galaxy Theatres nearly across the street from each other in a city of about 28,000 people. The council questions whether both theaters would survive.
Galaxy is now under construction in Colony Square — a project subsidized by city taxpayers with $1.5 million. Its public ownership has prompted the council to make sure Colony Square doesn’t fail.
In May, Galaxy officials said they aren’t certain their theater has a future in Atascadero if La Plaza is approved.
This summer, the council upheld its original request for a third-party review of whether Atascadero can support both cinemas.
Wysong said the requirement was an unwarranted request for a business. He’s also maintained that a second theater would work in town but won’t share his proprietary business plan figures with the public.