SANTA MARIA - Demolition work continues at the Santa Maria Town Center Mall to make way for a new 14 screen, stadium-seating movie theater.
Its part of what the new mall owners hope will lure people back to downtown from big box shopping centers on the city's outskirts.
"It just depends on what they bring in I guess", says Santa Maria resident Joe Moody, "I know my wife and I go to Arroyo Grande to go to a theater."
For years a popular shopping destination in Santa Maria for consumers has been the Crossroads Center on Bradley Road along the southern edge of the city near Highway 101.
"I come here because its convenient and they have things that I need", says Crossroads Center shopper Virginia Hitch, "but shopping in general in Santa Maria is terrible."
Making shopping convenient and desirable is also good for the city, the Crossroads Center brings in all-important sales tax revenue.
But the movie theater project and other planned improvements at the Town Center Mall has the potential to give Santa Maria two popular shopping destinations like cities to the north and south.
"Santa Maria can do it too", says Town Center Mall spokesperson Amber Lease, "we have big box destinations, and they are out toward the freeway, we're looking to be more of a specialty, a unique experience within the downtown city limits."
The Town Center Mall movie theater project is expected to be completed sometime next year.
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