WESTMINSTER — To avoid chasing away summertime matinee audiences with hammer noises, owners of the theater at Cranberry Mall will wait until September to start construction on three additional screens.
July is typically the busiest time of the year for matinees, said Harold L. Blank, an assistant vice president for Hoyts Cinemas Corp., owner of the movie complex. The Massachusetts-based company has 450 screens in more than 75 locations nationwide.
"There were some concerns about starting (construction) during the summer season," said Blank, 43.
Instead, the ground-breaking will be on or around Sept. 1, he said. But Blank said the theaters are built to shield against noise and other distractions, so the corporation does not expect any difficulties.
"I don't believe it will be aproblem at all," he said. "We do not anticipate any interruption of any film."
The additional screens should be completed by February,Blank said.
"We are hopeful of being open by Christmas," he said."But to be more accurate, probably not until February."
Hoyts Cinemas announced plans to build the new screens during the spring of 1990, but last September, former mall manager Colleen F. Joseph said the project was on hold.
"All processes with regard to expansion anddevelopment generally end up with some delay," Blank said. "It just takes time to produce lease amendments and some plans."
The movie chain chose to expand its Westminster theater in an effort to stimulate business by making a greater number of popular films available, Blank said.
"It's really to accommodate more films which, in turn, we hope will produce more business," he said. "With six theaters it's difficult to play all the films."
Heather M. Sipes of Westminster said she's glad there will be more films offered at the theater.
"It would be nice," said Sipes, 15, who goes to the movies almost every weekend. Now, Sipes said, to see more than the six movies offered, "we have to travel farther,"which adds gas prices and other expenses to the cost of the ticket.
Craig R. Mazeska agreed that additionalscreens would be "a great idea," but the 20-year-old from Westminster doubted there would be enough demand to fill all of the theaters.
Another concern was raised by Nicole L. Fangmeyer, 18, a Westminster resident.
"I'm kind of worried that the price'll go up," she said.
But Blank said construction of the 6,000-square-foot addition will not affect the $6.50 ticket price.
"There is no anticipated price increase attached to the building of the complex," he said.
The new screens will cost Hoyts Cinemas about $450,000 to build and $180,000 for equipment, Blank said.
The work on the addition will be done by the Massachusetts-based Chain Construction Co.
Project manager Al Ross said his organization will be applying for a building permit soon.
The construction should provide about 200 temporary jobs, in addition to a few part-time jobs at the theater, Blank said.
But Blank said he doesn't expect the temporary jobs to have much impact on unemployment in Carroll County.
Nonetheless, Frank D. Meyer, acting manager of Cranberry Mall, said the stores are eager for thenew screens to be built.
"We're ready to have them whenever they're ready to build," said Meyer. "They're a welcome addition to the mall and I'm sure they will be to the community as well."