While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the action-packed Marvel blockbuster movies, Santa Clarita Valley residents are closer to enjoying indie, foreign and art films in their hometown, following a groundbreaking of the Laemmle Theatres in Newhall on Wednesday.
“We can’t wait for the Laemmle Newhall 7 to open,” Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste told the crowd in attendance.
As part of the city’s Arts Master Plan to designate Old Town Newhall as the arts and entertainment district, the independent movie theater is being built on the corner of Main Street and Lyons Avenue.
The theater will include seven screens with about 500 seats for moviegoers, showcasing “quality film without regard to genre or provenance,” as stated on the company’s website.
Laemmle Newhall will mark the seventh spot in the Laemmle Theatre chain. The rest are scattered in Los Angeles, with the nearest theater located in the San Fernando Valley.
“When my grandfather and his brother started the business with two locations in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, I don’t think they could have imagined us being here today, 80 years and three generations later about to embark on a multi-million-dollar construction project,” said Greg Laemmle, president of the family-owned business.
SCV’s own Laemmle Theatre is what residents have been asking for quite some time, he and Weste said, and it’s finally underway.
Residents Melissa Brimigion and Lucille Bowman, who have lived in the SCV since the 1970s, said they’re glad they won’t have to travel to the San Fernando Valley or farther south to enjoy art and foreign movies.
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, who were also present at the groundbreaking, said they were glad to see not only a new entertainment destination but also a job creator.
About 15 to 20 jobs with benefits are said to become available at the theater, Laemmle said.
Within the arts and entertainment district, the theater is only part of a “marriage” with the newly opened Old Town Newhall parking structure, Weste said on the Redevelopment Block construction project that also includes a public plaza and retail spaces.
“You also have the siblings, which is the restaurants and beverage bars, retail and plaza,” she added. “Today, people are going to live and commute to a place with open space, libraries, food, transportation and entertainment.”
“Everyone is talking about building houses. Let’s build houses where we can live, work, play and get to our jobs without having to drive four hours,” Weste said.
Laemmle Newhall 7 is expected to open for business by the end of 2019.