Thursday, May 22, 2008

Multiplex cinema to open in Brandywine in 2010

Second phase of Brandywine Crossing development gets under way

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Starting in 2010, residents south of Bowie won’t have to travel quite so far to see a movie in a theater with stadium-style seating.

North county residents have such theaters nearby at Bowie Town Center, Cap Center at the Boulevard and Arundel Mills. But there are no major cinemas in Calvert, St. Mary’s or Charles counties, said Howard S. Biel, senior managing director northeast⁄mid-Atlantic retail development at Fasion Enterprises.

The Bethesda-based developer recently agreed with Chicago-based Kerasotes Theatres to bring a 71,000 square-foot multiplex to Brandywine.

‘‘There are some old theaters around, but nothing is going to touch this,” Biel said.

The 16-screen theater will be part of Brandywine Crossing, a 750,000-square-foot retail project located at Route 301 and Branch Avenue. Biel said the development will serve as a regional shopping and entertainment center for Southern Maryland.

This will be the first theater Kerasotes is opening in the Mid-Atlantic region.

‘‘We are excited to be opening our first theater in Maryland at Brandywine Crossing,” Dean Kerasotes, Chief Operating Officer for Kerasotes Showplace Theatres said in an e-mail. ‘‘We are confident that our theater’s superior technology and amenities will provide residents of the Southern Maryland area with a truly unique entertainment experience.”

The theater will anchor a second phase of the development that includes retailers, including Kobe Japanese Steakhouse Restaurant, specialty shops and a variety of national and local restaurants.

The project is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010.

The first phase of Brandywine Crossing, with an expected opening date this fall, features 53 acres of retail anchored by Target, Costco and Safeway plus an 18-acre office⁄flex space commercial district. Phase One will cost about $63 million to complete, according to Fasion Enterprises. The cost of Phase Two has not been determined.

Members of the Brandywine-North Keys Civic Association, the community that would most directly benefit from the project, support the shopping center.

‘‘To have that shopping center will give a great opportunity for new employment,” said Earl Mitchell, president of the Brandywine-North Keys Civic Association said at the groundbreaking ceremony in November. ‘‘It also offers a lot of convenience to people in the community.”

Kelly Canavan, a south county environmental activist and president of the Accokeek, Mattawoman, Piscataway Creeks Council, said the development will destroy a rural lifestyle in the area.

‘‘It’s going to make one big strip mall from Waldorf up to Brandywine,” she said.

However, some are happy they no longer have to travel to Waldorf or Clinton to go shopping or eat at fine restaurants.

‘‘Having quality restaurants and entertainment will be beneficial because we don’t have that here,” Mitchell said. ‘‘It gives the community a whole different interest beyond gravel pits.”