The company that runs the Cine 3 theatre in the Prairie Hills Mall says it’s getting closer to building its own facility, but that it’s more than a year away from making any such move.
Odyssey Entertainment, based in the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove, Minn., said while it has a long-term lease with the mall’s ownership group, the company continues to actively search for development sites in the city because it hopes to build at least an eight-screen stand-alone theater.
“We’re seeking alternative options, and we have plans to redevelop a theatre,” said Bryan Sieve, head of development for Odyssey. “It won’t be at the mall.”
Since coming to Dickinson in January 2012 and replacing Carmike Cinemas, Sieve said Odyssey has made it known that while the company is happy with the amount of business it brings in at its three-screen location, its longterm plans are to grow and the mall facility won’t allow for that.
Odyssey’s lease with the mall is structured with flexibility, he said, where “we have options if and when we develop that we could exit. The decision is with us, not them.”
Sieve said Odyssey had plans of building a new theater during the height of the oil boom, but it became difficult to find a contractor on the project. It went so far that in December 2013, Roers Development announced in a press release that it had an agreement to bring Odyssey to the West Ridge commercial district. However, those plans never panned out.
“What can we do? To some extent, we kind of had to wait until Dickinson grew up a little bit,” he said. “I think that time is coming here. At least (contractors) call us back now, where before they didn’t.”
Sieve said he couldn’t reveal what developments Odyssey is eying for its new theater location, but said the company is exploring multiple options.
“In the next 12 months, we should have a real concrete idea of exactly where we want to go and where we’re going to get it done,” he said.
Sieve said he understands the frustration of that some theater patrons when Cine 3 doesn’t get a highly anticipated release immediately because of its lack of cinemas, and said he doesn’t like to hear that people are leaving Dickinson to go to different movie theaters.
“Right now, it’s no secret. We can’t get enough (films) in,” he said. “It causes a tremendous difficulties for us to bring the films in that the community wants to see.”
He said the mall’s structure doesn’t allow for expansions and improvements, such as stadium seating and large-format screens, as its roofs are night high enough.
“We’d have loved to have seen it stay there, but it just didn’t work out in the cards,” Sieve said. “But rest assured, we’re a large enough regional exhibitor we have the wherewithal to pull off another structure in town.”
Odyssey operates seven other theaters in Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio and South Dakota. Dickinson is its only North Dakota location, as well as its smallest and only location without the ability to show a movie in 3-D — a well-established and growing part of the industry.
Mark Grove, president of Great Plains Clinic Medical Enterprise LLC, which operates the mall, said he can’t comment on Odyssey’s intent to leave the mall but confirmed their lease is still in good standing.
Sieve said he has no idea what the mall’s plans are if the theater leaves, and Grove wouldn’t comment on that topic either. “We don’t want to stand in their way if they have other plans,” Sieve said. “We definitely want to respect their wishes.”