CARY — The only thing going up faster these days than houses seems to be movie theaters, especially in western Wake County.
Soon you will not have to leave Cary to see the movie of your choice or to sit in comfortable stadium seating. Developers say it will keep the moviegoers and the money in Cary.
After years of planning, the 20-screen theater is finally taking shape at Crossroads in Cary. Cary town planners are also reviewing blueprints for another big theater with 16 screens slated for the backside of Waverly Place.
"They are looking for the theater to really revitalize Waverly Place and to really change the look of it," says Jim Parajon, Cary's town planner.
"Keeping people in this section of town is what we're about," says Cammack Morton, C.E.O. of Konover Property Trust, which owns Waverly Place. He hopes to revamp the shopping center's troubled image and keep moviegoers in Cary.
"What we wanted to do is bring more people there, more entertainment," Morton said.
The two mega-theaters are getting mixed reviews.
"I'm trilled, I don't want to go all the way downtown," says moviegoer Wilma Levine. "There's so many people out in this area that I think it's excellent."
"I think they're too crowded and not as intimate when you watch the movie, and it also causes a lot of traffic in the area," says moviegoer Cynthia Jenkins. "I'm not one for big mega-malls and cinemas."
And it looks like the big guys can put the little guys out of business. For the time being, the Imperial Theater hopes to hold its own.
"We're just going to keep doing the same thing we always do, just try to serve the people the best can, give good customer service and just go on about our business," says Jeremy McCollum, manager of Imperial Cinemas.
The 20-screen theater is scheduled to open around Thanksgiving. If everything goes as planned, the Waverly Place Theater will be under construction by October and should open in the fall of 2000.