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Blue Oaks to get reel rival

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Rocklin’s new Blue Oaks 16 Cinema has only been open two months and it’s about to get some reel competition. A new development proposal would build a 14-screen Cinemark movie theater directly across Highway 65 from Rocklin’s new multiplex, according to Roseville city officials. Rocklin’s OMG! Yogurt Owner Nicole Felix, who has increased business from moviegoers, said a second movie house is too much. “Lincoln doesn’t have a theater,” Felix said, “When you put something in somebody’s backyard, it is just bad for business.” Cinemark Theatres, which currently operate the Century Roseville 14 Theaters on Eureka Road, is proposing to build a 52,000-square-foot facility along Highway 65 between Pleasant Grove and Blue Oaks boulevards. The proposal calls for a 14-screen, 2,587-seat theater with a self-serve concession stand. SR Entertainment CEO and President Dan Tocchini, owner of Blue Oaks Cinema 16, is unsure if there are enough moviegoers to go around. Tocchini is backing off initial expectations of a million visitors at Blue Oaks 16 this year, now down to 800,000. “It’s still too early to tell,” Tocchini said. “It’s definitely disappointing. There is no need for two theaters to be there. There is a need for one in downtown Roseville, which is seven miles away.” The Placer Herald tried to reach Cinemark executives, but calls and e-mails were not returned. Roseville City officials report the new theater would also come with a development plan for the 59-acres site to include 20,000 square-feet of hotel space, 36,000 square-feet of restaurant space, 637,000 square-feet of office space and 25,000 square-feet of office space. Concerned Roseville resident Anthony DiCicco doesn’t understand why they would take the risk in this economy. “In my opinion, planners in Roseville are not doing as good of a job of planning as they have done in the past,” DiCicco said. “I do not believe that cramming multiple theaters in such close proximity is going to allow for the success of either. I would rather see the success of one in the Blue Oaks area over the failure of both.” Right now the Roseville and Rocklin area has a 31.5 percent office space vacancy rate, which is about 10 percent higher than the Sacramento area, according to commercial brokerage CB Richard Ellis. While that number is alarming, Rocklin Commercial Realtor Franklin Burris said there is a silver lining. “I think it is a way too simplistic criticism,” Burris said. “The majority of who (Blue Oaks 16) are drawing is outside of Roseville or Rocklin. They are pulling people from Citrus Heights, North Highlands and from Lincoln to South Placer.” Burris and Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Dave Butler said the new proposal is the start of a new development surge in the area. “New business in Roseville or any other part of South Placer County is great news for existing businesses in Rocklin,” Butler said. “Economic investment and activity like these are a clear indication that South Placer County is the place for business.” Felix is also hopeful. “The theater will make this a bigger intersection and make people think ‘Hey, let’s go over there,’” Felix said. “When they weren’t thinking that before.” Rocklin business owner and City Councilman Scott Yuill concedes potential Rocklin tax dollars could end up in the new Roseville development, but Blue Oaks has an advantage besides the head start. “Customers ultimately decide the success of a business with their dollars,” Yuill said. “I’m confident that Blue Oaks Cinema 16 will successfully compete because it’s one of the best and most technically advanced theater experiences in our region.” Burris said the project could take a year to open. Even so, he said the family-owned Blue Oaks 16 has the advantage. “I would put my money on Blue Oaks Theater management over Cinemark corporate,” Burris said. “They are much more responsive, much more unique operators.” According to Roseville officials, the Cinemark development plan is expected to go before the Roseville Planning Commission by early spring. Blue Oaks Cinema 16 Where: 6692 Lonetree Blvd., Rocklin Ticket prices: From $5.50 to $15.25 Information: (916) 797-3456; www.srentertainmentgrp.com/blueoaks.asp