PITTSBURG -- The city has a movie theater again.
Maya Cinemas will have a grand opening Friday in the location that the old 16-screen Brenden Theatre occupied before it closed down a few months ago after its lease expired.
The space at Century Plaza may be the same, but the look of the new theater is dramatically different from the structure that stood there before. The Maya features warm colors of red and yellow that wrap around a redesigned building featuring expanded columns.
"The show starts on the outside ... I was searching for exciting colors for a building to jump up and say 'come inside.' We wanted to make a statement," said Frank Haffar, president and chief operating officer of Maya Cinemas, as workers put the finishing touches on the property.
Inside, there is a huge lobby with a 50-foot-long concession stand. The auditoriums have been completely redone with a state-of-the-art sound system, leather rocking seats, and new wall-to-wall screens.
"The vision is to really create a first-class, state-of-the-art-theater," Haffar said.
When it opens, the Maya will have 10 screens showing movies, a number that will increase to 12 a couple weeks later. By the end of November, the theater will be operating with 15 screens, Haffar said.
Maya Cinemas spent close to $8 million to upgrade the property and will employ about 70 people, he said. This is the chain's first venture in the Bay Area. It operates theaters in
The company's website says it "intends to become the premier film exhibitor by building new megaplex theatres in areas with strong movie-going demographics, in Latino-centric, family-oriented communities in underserved urban and rural areas."
"We like to be in family-oriented communities, and definitely Latinos will be play a big part of it and they are great movie-goers," Haffar said.
While there may be occasional Spanish-language films shown, Maya Cinemas will focus on bringing a mixture of first-run movies and independent films to the region. "We cater to the whole community, so movie-wise the choice of movie or what we show is really dependent on the market," he said.
Maya Cinemas has a 20-year-lease with Sierra Pacific Properties, which owns the Century Plaza shopping center.
In 1990, Brenden Theatre Corp. opened its first eight-screen theater in Pittsburg, expanding it to 12 screens two years later. It was remodeled in 1997 to include 16 screens.
"We were actively searching for another operator," said Doug Messner, president of Sierra Pacific, which opted not to renew the lease with Brenden Theatres after it expired April 15. "We were looking for someone to come in and invest not only in the operations but in the facility ... It was time to upgrade."
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.