FUTURE LOOK? ArcLight currently operates theaters around the Los Angeles area. (Photo courtesy ArcLight)

DOWNTOWN — ArcLight Cinemas announced Tuesday it has an agreement in place with the owners of Santa Monica Place to build a 14-screen movie theater on the mall’s third floor, bringing a desperately needed new theater to Downtown.

The plan is to open the theater in late spring 2015, although it must be approved by the Planning Commission and City Council first.

“It is unknown at this time when that will be,” said city planner Paul Foley.

The development is tentatively scheduled to go before the council in April.

ArcLight is requesting to increase the building height to 84 feet to accommodate the movie screens. ArcLight and Macerich, the owner of the mall, have applied for permission to do some initial work that would not be subject to the development agreement process.

Development agreements are contracts approved by the City Council that allow developers to build above permitted heights and densities in exchange for community benefits such as affordable housing, public art or cash.

Community benefits to be offered have not been finalized, city officials said.

“We are in the midst of the city process, however both ArcLight and Macerich have met the city and they have been in full support of the project,” officials with Macerich said.

The new theatre, which will include a full bar, cafe, concessions and a lounge for those 21 years of age or older, is welcomed as Downtown has struggled in recent years to attract moviegoers to its outdated theaters, which do not include modern amenities like stadium seating.

ArcLight’s expansion to Santa Monica is key to its footprint in Los Angeles, officials with the company stated in a press release. The announcement comes on the heels of the groundbreaking ceremony for ArcLight’s first Midwest location in Chicago, opening 2015, and construction for the fall 2014 opening of ArcLight’s first East Coast location in Bethesda, Md.

ArcLight Santa Monica will feature the signature amenities that movie lovers have come to expect from, including all reserved seating, a commercial-free environment, unique programming and black box auditoriums with extra-wide stadium seats and state-of-the-art sight and sound, officials with ArcLight said.

“We created ArcLight so that movie lovers could experience film the way the filmmakers intended,” said Chris Forman, chief executive officer. “Santa Monica Place is an important shopping and lifestyle destination. It means a lot to our company, and to me, to partner with Macerich to bring the ArcLight experience to Santa Monica.”

ArcLight Cinemas, created by Pacific Theatres, is a privately owned, Los Angeles-based company with 60 years of theatrical exhibition history throughout California, Hawaii and Washington. ArcLight Cinemas operates theaters in Hollywood, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo and La Jolla. ArcLight also owns and operates the historic Cinerama Dome and programs the TCL Chinese Theatre and IMAX in Hollywood. Pacific Theatres currently operates theaters in Los Angeles that include The Grove and The Americana at Brand in Glendale.



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