Carrie Rengers

Bill Warren plans yet another $25 million, 14-auditorium theater

Bill Warren is planning a second $25 million, 14-auditorium theater for the northern part of Oklahoma City that likely will be a twin of the one he’s planning to build in Midwest City.
Bill Warren is planning a second $25 million, 14-auditorium theater for the northern part of Oklahoma City that likely will be a twin of the one he’s planning to build in Midwest City. Courtesy image

Bill Warren is at it again.

Less than two weeks ago, the Warren Theatres owner told Have You Heard? he’s finalizing a $25 million deal for a 100,000-square-foot, 14-auditorium theater in Midwest City, which is next to Tinker Air Force Base.

Now, he has plans for a $25 million twin complex at Kilpatrick Turnpike and North Eastern Avenue.

“It’s like the commercial thoroughfare,” Warren says of Kilpatrick. “It’s like triple North Rock Road on steroids.

He says he’s been looking for a couple of years in the north part of Oklahoma City and Edmond. Warren says it’s a heavily populated area.

“We think that’s a good area to be.”

In 2008, Warren built a theater in Moore, which is between Oklahoma City and Norman. He added auditoriums over the years, including an IMAX theater.

With this third complex, Warren says he will have all the theaters he needs in the metro area, which has more than 1.3 million people. He says since the city has the second-largest land mass of cities in the United States, there will be plenty of room between his theaters.

“I mean, you’re talking almost a half an hour to drive between any of those locations.”

Warren says there’s a reason it’s taken more than a decade between the time he first started planning his Moore theater and his announcement of his latest Oklahoma City theaters.

“Most people don’t realize when you go out to develop something, it’s not like you drive up … spot a piece of land, buy it and start building on it a couple months later.”

He says just finding land can be a lot of effort.

“You kind of kick a lot of tires, and you weigh the pros and cons,” Warren says. “If you really are doing your homework, it takes some time.”

There will be city incentives with the newest theater. Warren says he can’t discuss them.

“But we’re happy with the deal.”

Warren likely will build both theaters at the same time, possibly with the same contractors. He says he still has to have a bidding process but likely will hire a couple of companies from Oklahoma and a couple from Kansas.

The new theaters will be “very high end, very luxurious,” Warren says.

That includes the reclining and heated seats he recently installed in the new Warren 21 in Wichita.

Bill Warren, who offers a sneak peek of his new Warren 21 theater, says he can't wait to see what people think when it opens Friday. (Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle/April 26, 2016)

Warren says those are only two small pieces of a much larger experience.

“What makes the building is going to be the architecture, is going to be the quality, is going to be the service.”

Warren says service is huge to him.

“We operate with far more employees than most companies do.”

He says he looked at someone else’s similar theater that has half the employees he does.

“That kind of struck me.”

Warren says the new theaters are “going to be even more luxurious than other theaters we’ve built.”

And they won’t be his last.

“We’re looking at other deals.”

The potential deals are in other states, but Warren won’t say where.

“Can’t mention that. Not right at the moment. I don’t tell my competitors what I’m up to.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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