Following a brief public hearing, the commission approved a subdivision plan for Van Wyk's 4.9-acre site. The commission also approved a site plan for the 32,130-square-foot theater, which would have 462 parking places.
"As you know, I've been trying to get a first-class theater in the Martinsburg area for a number of years," Van Wyk, a commercial and residential developer, told the commission members.
Van Wyk said he has a lease agreement with Boston-based Hoyts Cinemas, the 10th largest exhibitor in the country with 802 screens.
The theater complex planned by Crown American, which owns the Martinsburg Mall, would seat between 110 and 300 people in each of 10 to 12 theaters. Plans call for the complex to be built between the Wal-Mart and Bon-Ton stores at the mall.
Nicholas J. Pasquerilla, Crown Americans' senior vice president for facilities planning, said the Johnstown, Pa., company is negotiating with three or four theater operators at this point. He said site preparation could begin within a few weeks.
Pasquerilla estimated site preparation costs at $900,000, but said construction of the addition to the mall would be up to the theater operator. He said he could not provide an estimate on construction costs.
The final configuration and seating capacity of the theaters also would be up to the operator, Pasquerilla said.
Van Wyk said the Hoyts Cinemas project would cost approximately $5 million. He would be the landlord, and construction would be done by a Washington, D.C.-area firm that builds all of Hoyts' theaters.
Van Wyk had unvailed the plans for the Hoyts cinema project in June.
Memorial Day is the projected opening date for the Hoyts multiplex, according to Van Wyk.