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'Specialty Cinema' to be Proposed at MarketStreet

National Development plans to ask voters at this spring's town meeting to approve a smaller-sized, more upscale cinema at MarketStreet Lynnfield.

Looking ahead to Phase 2 of the MarketStreet Lynnfield project, National Development plans to seek clearance to build what is described as a specialty cinema. The project is located yards from the Sheraton Colonial property and the Wakefield line.

During a site visit last week to the MarketStreet project site off Walnut Street in Lynnfield, Ted Tye of National Development told this website that the original zoning for the project back in 2007 did not include a movie theater as an allowed use. He added that back in 2009, that town's voters were asked to approve a regular cinema, and while a majority vote was reached in favor of the idea, the required two-thirds majority was not.

The proposed warrant article for the 2013 Lynnfield spring town meeting would specifically request zoning approval at MarketStreet for a specialty cinema - eight theaters in a space of about 45,000 square feet. It would be in a 50-foot tall 2-story building, with all but the lobby and escalators located on the second floor. The rest would be active retail space. The theater would be located in Building 1100 of MarketStreet, added Tye, which he said is at the most remote corner of the site with no abutters.

There are two specific changes that need to be approved, said Tye - the allowed height of the 2-story building needs to be raised by five feet, as well as a separate Phase 2 request to allow three stories instead of two stories of office space while still keeping a 45-foot tall building.

Contingent upon approval, the theater would open with MarketStreet's Phase 2 - which includes four more buildings in total - in late 2014 or early 2015, said Tye. Right now, there is no plan for a formal break between phases 1 and 2. Rather, construction is expected at this point to simply continue onto the next phase as the first one gets up and running.

Tye added that the proposed cinema would be as much as a third smaller than other nearby movie theaters, such as the one in Woburn or at the Legacy Place development in Dedham. He added that the proposed cinema would be about half the size of the Legacy Place theater.

It would also be "a little more upscale than normal theaters," said Tye. "We feel it's what the community wants at this time."

"People ask me all the time, when are we getting a theater?" he said, adding that the proposal is "something really tailored to this development and Lynnfield" while also ehancing the project's overall "town center" feel. He also said that the theater, as well as the planned golf course at MarketStreet, are part of "how we create great retail" in an era when people can increasingly stay home and buy any product they want.

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Melissa Schools February 11, 2013 at 02:30 PM
I see that, of course, Jennifer. Just wishing it could be more affordable, which I'm pretty sure won't be the case.
Judge Amy Gray February 11, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Second run theaters are dead now that we have dvds. By upscale think Lux Level at the Showcase cinemas.
Laurie Hunt February 11, 2013 at 04:43 PM
There is a fabulous and vibrant second run theater in Arlington - The Capital Theater. I agree with Melissa, it would be great to have an affordable option for taking out the family. I don't know what an "upscale" theater would mean, really, except being overpriced. I wish we could bring more simple things back...
Wallace McKenzie February 12, 2013 at 12:09 AM
people should take a look at the lynnfield.patch.com site for other comments. This is an 8 screen cineplex. There was a great deal of discussion by the Board of Appeals about the use of Exit 42 and not using it and not advertising. People in the Montrose area should expect more traffic than expected from the studies that were conducted since it did not include a eight screen theater.
Wallace McKenzie February 17, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Many more comments on the Lynnfield.patch.com site on the cineplex. The main issue is that when this was passed by the town, the developer said there would not be a cineplex / theater. That is what we are trying to preseve.

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