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Madison, WI: Marcus Theatres Eyeing Alternate Location for Eastgate Replacement

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 2:11 PM

The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting that Marcus Theatres Corporation is considering an alternate location for its replacement of the aging Marcus Eastgate Cinemas in Madison, Wisconsin.

The first location that Marcus is considering is located at Highway 151 and Nelson Road, and the alternate location is just up Highway 151 at the junction with County Highway C, near the Target store that opened earlier this year.

The familiar Marcus sign could appear in Sun Prairie instead of Madison. Photo Copyright 2009 SVJ Designs, LLC All Rights Reserved.
In May 2008, Marcus announced plans to replace the Eastgate Cinemas with an all-new 16-screen location, complete with an UltraScreen (Marcus' term for an extra large screen, upwards of 70' wide) and an entertainment complex. The project has run into some snags, but it was finally approved by the Madison City Council in February.

The new location would be officially located in Sun Prairie, which would be a loss for the city of Madison, and it would not contain the entertainment complex portion of the aforementioned project.

According to the Marcus news release, the Sun Prairie location offers “excellent visibility” without the burden of additional development.

"A final determination has not yet been made, but this site does offer additional options and flexibility … without the added challenge and financial risk of developing the surrounding property ourselves, which would be required with the other site," Bruce Olson, president of Marcus Theatres said in a statement.

None of this is to the point of shovels digging in dirt yet, so things could change considerably, including nothing happening at all. Municipal approvals, market conditions, and corporate direction changes can affect these projects easily. Three years ago, Marcus announced plans to replace the Marcus South Towne in Monona, Wisconsin (Madison's Southeast side) with a new location nearby in the Tradewinds Business Centre, but that project has yet to see the light of day (has dirt ever been moved? Let us know!).

The good news is that when Marcus finally develops a theater location, they tend to do a pretty good job of it. The Marcus Majestic Brookfield in Waukesha, Marcus Renaissance Cinema near Racine, and the recently remodeled Marcus North Shore Cinemas in Mequon (all in Wisconsin) are examples of successful projects that have been well-received by the public. If there is anything negative to be said about these projects, it's that they make some of the older, existing Marcus Theatres locations look dated by comparison.

Click the Read link below to view the full article by the Wisconsin State Journal.

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Please Note: These comments are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Aug 28, 2009 - DavidEMartin  

The Marcus chain's is current obsession with replacing practical, well-located theaters with pompous palaces located far from where peopple actually live will eventually turn against them. The chain is already in financial trouble but apparently the execs are not listening to their accountants.

The new theaters are "well received by the public" if you only count the public with cars and GPS that can find them ! The Majestic, forr example, is clearly visible from I-94 BUT the nearest off-ramp is a mile away and there are no clues or signs telling motorists what backroads to take to actually to get there.

As for Madison's situation, just watch. Marcus will chose whatever site is farthest from the actual city, is not served by mass transit, and has the smalled local population.  

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