Archive for Thursday, October 27, 2005

A grand month

Village West movie theater, shopping center tenants brace for openings

October 27, 2005

With openings for a new movie theater and 15 other businesses scheduled, November is stacking up to be a big month for area shoppers, diners and the Village West tourism and entertainment district.

"That's going to be a happening place out there," said Denise Hays, special projects coordinator for Unified Government of Wyandotte County.

Village West, the retail juggernaut that is near the intersection of Interstates 435 and 70, is home to the state's top tourist attraction, Cabela's, as well as several others including Nebraska Furniture Mart and the neighboring Kansas Speedway.

The tourism and entertainment district draws an estimated 10 million visitors each year.

Next month, the rich get richer.

The Legends 14, a 14-screen, state-of-the-art complex, is scheduled for a Nov. 11 unveiling. The movie theater's opening night will coincide with the grand openings of 15 other Village West businesses.

"It kind of amazes me that area has been such a draw and attraction," Hays said. "With these (new) openings, things are only going to get busier."

The movie theater will create some pre-opening night buzz this weekend. In what organizers dub the "largest ticket giveaway in movie history," Legends 14 will hand out 14,000 free movie tickets on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The give-away -- with a limit of two tickets per person -- will take place between 9 a.m. and noon at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

A day before the movie theater opens, on Nov. 10, The Legends 14 will host a black-tie benefit; proceeds from the benefit will help support community health and education programs offered by Providence Medical Center in western Wyandotte County and St. John Hospital in Leavenworth.

Screen legends of the past, including Tippi Hedren, George Kennedy and Jerry Maren, are slated to appear. Tickets cost $100 per person; for more information, contact the Providence and St. John Foundation at (913) 596-4151 for more information.

Hays said Unified Government officials are negotiating deals with other retailers and restaurants, all of which would compliment existing and future developments, to locate to the 60 acres still vacant inside Village West.

Other areas, technically outside the acreage defined as Village West but close enough to capitalize on momentum generated from the district, are booming with development as well.

New businesses are popping up at Piper Plaza, just north of Village West, as well as the corner of 110th Street and Parallel Road.

"That (area) is certainly seeing some activity and that was the original intention of Village West," Hays said. "We're now seeing interest in properties and potential developments around Village West and Parallel, which is what we wanted to have happen."

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