Movie News & Reviews

Sacramento’s movie domes being flattened

Workers demolish a dome Wednesday at Century Theaters on Ethan and Arden Way in Sacramento..
Workers demolish a dome Wednesday at Century Theaters on Ethan and Arden Way in Sacramento.. apayne@sacbee.com

The dome-shaped theaters where generations of Sacramentans watched movies over the decades are coming down. This week, crews are demolishing portions of the Century Stadium 14 movieplex on Ethan Way.

It’s unknown how quickly the doomed domes will fall, because owner SyWest Enterprises of San Rafael did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment. But the company, which also owns the adjacent Howe ’Bout Arden shopping center, is pursuing plans to build a new 14-screen theater and enough retail space to double the size of the existing Howe ’Bout Arden complex, according to a document posted on the website of commercial brokerage The Edwards Co.

Under the plan presented to the Arden area planning advisory body last week, the existing Howe ’Bout Arden retail building will remain, but the Nordstrom Rack store will be relocated to Ethan Way, county planning officials said. Developers have received approval for the first stage of the project, said Trisha Stevens, of the county planning office. The company has yet to seek approval for the other components of the plan, including the new movie complex, which will require planning commission approval.

SyWest already tore down a Motel 6 at Arden and Ethan. In October, a deadly rampage that began in the Motel 6 parking lot left two peace officers dead.

In 2006, the Century Theaters chain was sold to the Texas-based Cinemark. A “Save the Domes” campaign has formed to save the original domes, built in 1963, on Winchester Boulevard in San Jose. While no such organized opposition formed to protect Sacramento’s domes, for many a Sacramento resident the place – and the movies they saw there – elicit strong memories. The first dome at the Arden complex went up in 1967.

Sacramento area residents Verna Sulpizio, Carla Conrad and Leo Zuniga took to Facebook on Wednesday, remembering how they saw “Star Wars” at the Century Theaters.

“So many fond memories at this place,” Sacramento resident Wes Rook told his friends on Facebook. “I’m sad to see it go.”

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