Warren to build theater in Broken Arrow, Okla.

10/18/2012 12:00 AM

10/17/2012 10:21 PM

Bill Warren expects to begin building a second movie theater in Oklahoma next spring.

Warren, owner and founder of Warren Theatres, said Wednesday that his next multiplex theater will be in Broken Arrow, an upscale suburb of Tulsa, in a new commercial development off of Creek Turnpike.

He said the 150,000- to 160,000-square-foot theater will cost more than $40 million, which includes land acquisition and constructing and equipping the theater. He said it will have between 175 and 200 employees, 40 of whom will be full time. It will have 18 to 20 screens and include the typical amenities of a Warren Theatre, including dining areas.

But, Warren said, it’s likely that it will be a bit different from the company’s last theater project, in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. “Each time we build a theater, we make improvements on it,” he said. “We’re always trying to improve our operation.”

His company also owns and operates Warren Theatres in east and west Wichita, the Movie Machine at Towne West Mall, the Old Town Warren, and the Palace in west Wichita and Springfield, Mo.

There are a number of reasons for the expansion in the Tulsa area, he said, not the least of which is “multi-millions” in public incentives from the city of Broken Arrow and the Broken Arrow Economic Development Authority.

“It is a really nice incentive package,” he said. “But that theater will generate a lot of sales tax, a lot of property tax, and a lot of tourism. So that’s why they’re doing it. They’re doing it for sound business reasons.”

The Warren theater will be an anchor for a 100-acre commercial development that’s expected to include restaurants and retailers.

According to documents from the city of Broken Arrow, Warren’s theater is expected to generate at least $750,000 in sales tax revenue and up to 1.2 million customers annually.

Warren said he had also previously owned and operated movie theaters in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

“Tulsa is just a natural extension for us, and Broken Arrow makes perfect sense,” Warren said. “It’s a growth area.”

Warren said once construction begins, it will take at least a year to complete the project.

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