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10-screen theater complex coming

June 11, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 10-screen movie theater with features such as "stadium-style" seating, digital sound and wall-to-wall screens will be built beside the Martinsburg Mall, according to developer Bruce Van Wyk.

The cinema complex, subject to city approval, is expected to be under construction by early September and open by next spring, Van Wyk said.

Each row of seats in the theaters will sit on risers, similar to a sports stadium, giving patrons "better sight lines" free of obstructions, according to project officials.

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Other features include expanded concession services offering coffee and pastries and high-back chairs with beverage holders, Van Wyk said.

"It's a much more modern, up-to-date experience," said Paul Beck, spokesman for Hoyts Cinemas Corp., a Boston-based company that will run the cinema complex.

It's only the second movie house of its kind in the Tri-State area. Hagerstown 10, a 10-screen theater, is on Leitersburg Pike one mile north of Hagerstown.

Van Wyk said he always thought a modern movie theater would help Martinsburg and the 17 restaurants in and around the Martinsburg Mall. Van Wyk developed the rapidly growing Foxcroft Avenue area around the mall, also known as the "Miracle Mile."

"I think it will be the best theater complex on Interstate 81," said Van Wyk.

The theater, which will cost about $4 million, will be built on four acres across from Martin's Food Market on Foxcroft Avenue, Van Wyk said.

Van Wyk said he plans to build the theater and lease it to Hoyts Cinemas.

Hoyts is the largest movie exhibitor in the Northeast, with 802 screens in operation and 200 more expected to be open by next June, officials said.

Beck said Hoyts has a growing presence in Maryland and Virginia, and West Virginia is "just a logical extension."

Hoyts opened a 10-screen theater in the Frederick Towne Mall in Frederick, Md., last year, but it doesn't have stadium seating, Beck said.

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