Atascadero's new movie theater gets ready for its close-up

Seats programmed to move with the action are among the amenities coming March 18 when Galaxy Theatres opens in Atascadero’s Colony Square.

It will be the first new construction to open in the shopping center, which broke ground in November 2009.

Other tenants include Premier Nail and Day Spa and Subway. Round Table Pizza has already opened in an existing building on site. Leases are now in negotiations for Bob’s Big Boy, Que Pasa restaurant and Cold Stone Creamery.

Two additional spaces are still available through Pacifica Commercial Realty. The nail salon/day spa is set to open in March, while the other businesses could open in midsummer, according to the firm.

Atascadero’s only theater was torn down in 2006 to make way for Colony Square, which was stalled several times because banks were reluctant to lend in the economic downturn.

The development gained traction in July 2009 when the city backed it with $1.5 million in taxpayer redevelopment money, which helped motivate banks to lend.

The 10-screen theater will have 3-D capabilities, all stadium seating and two VIP screens in a separate lounge. The lounge, where tickets could cost two to three dollars more than general admission, will sell beer and wine. The seats there will feature plush black leather with an armrest-type table on the side. Patrons will buy their drinks and food in the lounge before they go to their theater seats.

A server will then deliver their order. The food could range from cheese sticks and chicken tenders to more substantial entrees, officials said. The menu is still being finalized.

Prices for general admission are still being determined, officials said.

VIP tickets in Galaxy’s Gig Harbor, Wash., theater range from $13 to $15 per person, according to the company’s website. Its regular screens range from $7.75 to $10 for adults.

There will also be 18 moving seats, all in one theater, for selected shows. Those tickets are expected to cost $8 more than general admission.

San Luis Obispo County mayors and other local officials donned hard hats as they toured the building Friday.

Final touches such as paint, seats and movie screens were still missing.

This year’s San Luis Obispo Film Festival ticket holders will get the first sneak peek at the finished theater March 9 when Galaxy opens just for them.

Meanwhile, the fate of La Plaza Cinemas has yet to be determined.

The City Council has not yet approved or denied its application to build a proposed theater down the street.