Greg Laemmle was somewhat reluctant to announce an official opening date for the completely renovated Monica Film Center. After all, the Laemmle Theatres CEO had already postponed the relaunch several times due to delays in construction and inspection.

But with a new power supply scheduled to be delivered this week, Laemmle was targeting Jan. 29 as the date the Downtown Santa Monica theater would finally welcome moviegoers for the first time in a year and a half.

“It’s obviously been a long process, and I’m a little gunshy because there’s still a lot that isn’t under my control,” he said. “But it’s at an advanced stage and we should be able to get done what we need to get done.

“We’re very excited. We apologize for the delay – we have felt it as keenly as anybody. We hope that, once open, all the headaches of the birthing process will go away.”

The return of the Laemmle will bring back another element to the local movie theater scene, which recently saw the arrival of ArcLight Cinemas at Santa Monica Place.

The former four-plex at 1332 2nd St., between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue, now features six theaters with less overall seating capacity. The largest auditorium holds about 120 people, the second-biggest space has room for about 75 and the four other theaters have fewer than 50 seats. The Monica Film Center will continue showing independent movies, foreign films and documentaries. Oscar-nominated shorts will be among its opening attractions.

The venue boasts a ground-floor restaurant space that will be home to Flower Child, a health-focused eatery with three locations in Arizona and one in Texas. But the restaurant won’t be ready to serve patrons when the theater opens, Laemmle said.

Also in the works is another restaurant on the structure’s expanded rooftop that Laemmle hopes will be in service by the end of the year.

A mezzanine lounge that will allow moviegoers to mingle before and after screenings might also be used as a multipurpose space for film festivals, Laemmle said. The complex is scheduled to host the New Urbanism Film Festival on Feb. 24.

“Those are all positive developments for the long-term use of the building, but it did add some complications,” Laemmle said. “Even with opening of ArcLight, we believe there’s room for smaller films to get into Santa Monica that have not been seen. This is going to be great. … It’s like Santa Monica in general – we’ve got a lot more density in our space.”

The renovation process began nearly two years ago, when proposed changes to the theater complex came before the city’s Architectural Review Board. The city later granted the theater permission to sell alcoholic beverages.

When the theater shut down in mid-2014 after 44 years, Laemmle figured it would be possible to have it up and running again by the end of that year. His projection was based on the company’s recent overhaul of the Royal theater in West Los Angeles, which took about four months.

“We knew this was a bigger job,” Laemmle said of the Santa Monica project, “so I don’t know if any of those dates were realistic. But it’s clearly gone over schedule.”

Demolition of the old structure began before final plans for the new building were approved, Laemmle said.

In late November, theater executives announced that the Monica Film Center was nearing completion and that they were aiming to reopen the complex in December. But delays prevented them from targeting a specific date.

By the start of the calendar year, Laemmle felt comfortable pinpointing the end this month for the grand reopening.

“This renovation had to happen,” he said. “It had been quite a few years since the previous renovation, and the question was whether to stay within what we had and just bring in new finishes or make a more significant change. Our experience with smaller-capacity venues led us to believe we could intensify the use of the space and still provide something that would be meaningful and embraced by the public.”