I read in the Trib that there is an urban revitalization project under construction in St Louis Park that includes a theater. Always in the market for more theater choices, I decided to check it out.
The project is just off 394 at Xenia-Park Place. There is a brand-spanking-new Rainbow on the left (east) side. The theater is one block south and stands quite large above the retail shops at ground level. While the Rainbow is now open, the theater is still under construction. They are probably aiming for a Thanksgiving opening.
The theater is owned by Kerasotes, which operates in Minnesota under the Showplace name. I've been to the Showplace theater in Inver Grove Heights a few times. It's a nice place with a decent staff, but the price was a bit higher than average for my usual haunts.
The new theater is about 4.5 miles from my house. Weekend matinees won't be a problem, but getting there after work could be tough. It's only about 3-3.5 miles from the office but getting onto 394 can be difficult between 4-5:00, not to mention that Xenia-Park Place is always congested, so that could slow a person down as well. Willow Creek is still the best bet for after-work viewing, as it's only a brisk three-minute walk away. My current back-up theater is AMC in Maple Grove, a 12-minute weekend drive away. I never go there during the week.
The design of the new theater gives me pause. Being an urban theater, parking is in a ramp. I couldn't tell if the ramp is free or pay, but I'm not inclined to pay for parking without a good reason. A ramp also complicates how long it might take to get inside. As a just-in-time kinda guy, having to drive up a few levels looking for an open spot then hoofing it to the box office may induce lateness, which is a deal killer. Leave a little earlier, you say? Yeah, right.
Time will tell if the new theater gets much of my business. Willow Creek is still a decent primary theater, but they usually only carry the mass-market fare, while I like a good art-house or limited-run picture now and again. Willow Creek also cycles movies in and out a little faster than I like. It's sometimes difficult to get to a movie that only runs for a week or two, what with my busy schedule of procrastination and all.
I'll write a post about the new theater after it opens.