WEST VALLEY CITY — Gail Miller delivered an early Christmas present to Utah's second-largest city this week, announcing plans for Megaplex Theatres to locate at Valley Fair Mall.
The state-of-the-art theater will include 15 digital auditoriums, as well as a six-story IMAX screen, said Miller, owner of the Larry H. Miller Group and wife of the late Utah businessman.
Construction is scheduled to begin early next year, with the theater expected to open in time for the 2012 holiday season.
"We look forward to being in West Valley City and sharing what we have with you," Miller said Tuesday during the city's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony outside the mall. "And we hope you'll enjoy sharing it with us."
The 112,000-square-foot theater will be built on the still-developing east side of Valley Fair Mall. It will be the seventh Megaplex Theatres location and, like its predecessors, will feature reserved stadium seating and a food court.
"We looked at this (location) for a long time," said Blake Andersen, Megaplex Theatres' senior vice president and general manager. "There's a lot of new growth out here. The mall is going through a revival, and we're happy to be a part of it."
Also Tuesday, the West Valley City Council unanimously contributed $5 million in tax revenue generated by the mall renovation and expansion to the developers, Coventry III and Satterfield Helm. The latest in the phased expansion project, estimated to cost $40 million, will expand and remodel the east side of the mall.
City officials say conservative estimates indicate expansion will generate about $60 million in annual sales and an additional $560,000 per year in tax revenue.
Redevelopment and expansion of Valley Fair Mall has been under way since 2006, with the construction of Costco. Since then, the shopping center has added 130,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, as well as an outdoor plaza and a new access road.
City officials said mall traffic has increased by 50 percent from 2006 to 2011. Sales also have improved, as has the city's image, city officials said.
"We're really seeing a huge success story," Mayor Mike Winder said.
The Valley Fair Mall redevelopment is part of what Winder calls "a renaissance in the core of West Valley City." Fairbourne Station, a $500 million, 40-acre transit-oriented development project, is moving forward just west of the mall. And just west of that, the new Granger High School is being constructed.
"This is a very exciting time for West Valley City," Winder said.