The new Thomas Theatre in Marquette will be open to movie-goers on May 16.
"Construction is on schedule and stayed on schedule through one of the worst winters in recorded history," owner Tom Andes said. "And because of the hard work and dedication of the local labor pool, the movie theatre is really starting to look like a movie theatre."
"We started working on preliminary design with the Thomas Theatre Group in 2012 and it has been a privilege to be part of the team to bring this project from their dream to reality," president of Gundlach Champion Inc., Jim Ebli, said. "The focus from the beginning was to use as many local contractors as possible and we accomplished that by primarily using Upper Peninsula firms, including many from Marquette County."
A construction worker dries concrete at the theatre. (Photo courtesy of The Thomas Theatre Group)
A construction worker installs insulation into the walls of The Thomas Theatre in Marquette. (Photo courtesy of The Thomas Theatre Group)
Bottom right, a construction worker makes sure the concrete is level for the floor. (Photo courtesy of The Thomas Theatre Group)
As a family of Michigan business owners, Thomas Theatre Group believes in supporting local business. Four generations of the Thomas family have owned businesses in Michigan. Five generations of them have lived and worked in the Upper Peninsula. It was imperative to use as many local resources from the state of Michigan as possible.
"As with all of our past projects we are mindful of the needs of the local communities we serve; it was very important to us to support local Michigan union labor and Michigan companies," Andes said. "From attorneys, financial planners and business strategists to contractors, steelworkers and seat manufacturers, we chose to hire Michigan companies to help grow our local economies and our state.
"We are very fortunate there are great Michigan companies that offer the goods and services we need - we don't want that to go away for future generations," Andes said. "We know these companies will help us succeed and we want to help them succeed."
"I want to acknowledge the effort of the contractors and trades that worked hard to accomplish the safety, schedule and quality goals of this project," Ebli said. "It is a challenging project to be involved in and we are excited to bring this state-of-the-art facility to completion in Marquette for Tom and Valarie Andes."
The theatre at 1525 Commerce Drive is a state-of-the art multiplex with 10 screens in 30,000 square feet with a capacity to accommodate approximately 1,200 people. Each stadium-style cinema is equipped with all-digital projection, 7.1 digital surround sound systems and high-back seating. Three of the theatres are 3D capable.
Thomas Theatre brings the first large format screen to the U.P. - the TSX Experience. The TSX screen measures 35' x 60' with available VIP seating in the designated "Sweet Spot." A smaller VIP theatre with all VIP seating is available for a more intimate movie-going experience.
"We are committed to bringing the latest and greatest of the cinema industry to the U.P.," Andes said. "We believe the people in our area deserve the kind of venue we are bringing to Marquette."
The box office and concession stand have been streamlined to cut down the time movie-goers stand in line - one line to purchase your tickets and concessions.
Ticketing is also available online via Thomas Theatre's new website or in-theatre via ticketing kiosks. The Guest Services area at the concession counter allows customers to redeem tickets purchased online, ask questions, schedule parties, inquire about special events and order tickets in advance for shows not yet released.
"The guest service area is a very new concept for us which we included to help to enhance customer service," Andes said.
The theatre has a one of a kind drive-through for customers who would like to take movie snacks home without going into the theatre.
"We have a drive through window around the back of the building so people can order up some fresh popcorn to bring home," Andes said.
There is meeting space available for business gatherings, parties and private events. The new theatre brings a new customer rewards program that can be used at all Thomas Theatre locations.
"The decor will be a secret until the theatre opens but is inspired by the U.P. and local business and industries that make Michigan special," Andes said. "We used a lot of that to help design and decorate the building."
The new Marquette Cinema brings 30-50 jobs to the Marquette community, increasing Thomas Theatre's overall employment to more than 100 employees throughout the region.
"We will open to the public on May 16," Andes said. "Keep an eye out for movie show times on our new website at www.ThomasTheatreGroup.com - See you at the movies!"
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