Shawnee movie theater set for improvements
Big changes are in store for a popular movie theater in Shawnee.
At its city council meeting Monday evening, the governing body approved a $1.8 million development agreement with Oak Meadows LLC for the renovation of the B&B Shawnee 18 movie theater and a new restaurant site.
The majority of the council was in favor of the project, which will include interior and exterior improvements, such as plush leather reclining seats in all theaters, a new concession area with additional menu options, new signage and improvements to the parking lot.
The additional pad site included in the project consists of an estimated 6,000-square-feet restaurant or retail space, which could hold a full-service restaurant or two quick-service ones.
The estimated cost of the project is $6.4 million, with $4.9 million in private investment and $1.5 in public assistance, to come from the city’s economic development fund.
The cost of the additional project would also require $300,000 from the economic development fund as well. That $1.8 million would be paid out over a 10-year term after the project is completed. In return, that money will be paid back to the city through sales taxes and property taxes from the site.
“I’m very excited for this project,” said Councilman Brandon Kenig. “I’ve been going to this theater since I was a kid. I do like that we’re using existing funds for this. It’s a prime commercial corridor, being off I-435. It has the opportunity to bring people from Lenexa and Legends and it’s very timely, with the two hotels under construction in the area.”
But not everyone was on board.
Councilmembers Dan Pflumm, Eric Jenkins and Mike Kemmling voted against the development agreement.
Pflumm stated he felt the council didn’t have enough time to properly mull over the agreement before coming to a vote. He said he wished the item had come before the council committee first.
Kemmling stated he didn’t think it was the government’s job to hand out money to businesses for improvements.
Jenkins added he didn’t think the city should help fund improvements for the theater when he didn’t feel its owners were maintaining it properly.
“I have a problem with the parking lot,” he said. “I was there last night and there were some holes. ... I find that to be an issue because that should be an ongoing maintenance by the owner. It’s almost like we’re rewarding someone for poor behavior.”
A few residents agreed with him.
Don Lysaught, who lives near the theater, told the council that he and his neighbors, Richard and Phyllis Travers, were appalled the city would help fund improvements for a theater they believe does not properly maintain its exterior.
Another resident who spoke at the public hearing on the issue, however, felt otherwise.
Ray Erlichman, of Shawnee, said this is one of the first times he felt positive about the use of city money. He considers the renovation to be a project that will turn the movie theater into a mini destination for the city, drawing people to the nearby businesses as well.
The majority of the council agreed, passing the development agreement.
Renovation of the theater will begin this fall, starting with the lobby and six southernmost screens. The project is estimated to be wrapped up by the end of 2017.