Tauranga is about to get a huge new five-theatre multiplex cinema with more than 1000 seats.
Mark Taylor, a director of Tauranga Crossing which is building and will own the new retail complex west of the city, said Event Cinemas had leased the theatres where construction will start at the end of this year.
"Site works have started and the cinemas will open in the middle of 2018," he said of the project, which is part of the new Tauranga Crossing.
"The cinemas and adjoining retail will be a $30 million project," Taylor said of the building work at Tauriko, 9km from Tauranga's central city area.
Event Cinema Tauranga Crossing will have five general admission cinemas of more than 1000 seats. That will bring the region's first Vmax big-screen which Taylor said would be 24m wide and 9m high.
All the cinemas will also have spacious seating and the latest Dolby Atmos speaker system which allows the sound to come from all directions.
"There are 15 cinema screens in Tauranga at the moment so this is adding another five to the market. This area doesn't have enough cinema screens to satisfy demand. So the new project will cater to that and also answer demand from rapid growth now and in the future," he said.
The construction tender is yet to be let and Taylor said that would not happen until the end of the year.
Site works on now are preparing a platform for building. Taylor said Higgins was working at the site, bounded by State Highway 29 and State Highway 23.
The new shops and cinema are the second stage of a multi-stage project at Tauranga Crossing. The entire project is valued at more than $100 million.
The first stage with 29 new shops - including a Warehouse - will open next month. The second stage with the cinemas will also bring a further 20 speciality retail stores in an indoor mall, Taylor said.
Tauranga City Council chief executive Garry Poole welcomed the new cinemas.
"This adds to the amenity for the city. It adds to entertainment opportunities. We're trying to make sure we have infrastructure to meet growth and enough land available," Poole said of the green fields site being developed.
Not all has gone well at the project. A large part of a new Pak'nSave floor was faulty and needed to be re-laid.