Tuesday, 08 May 2012 by Matthew Girard
Beltonians looking for the big-city cinematic experience no longer have to go to Dallas or Austin.
Last weekend the much-anticipated new movie theatre, Grand Avenue, opened its doors to a few special guests and gave Belton its first taste of what is to come.
During the "soft" opening, all six fully digital screens were showing selected classic movies, while the Grand Avenue staff got to experience meeting the public and the fully-loaded kitchen was put through its paces.
"This is the first time we've had the whole crew and mainly it's a training opportunity," owner and Belton City Council member David K. Leigh said. "They are getting to greet the public and handle 800 people."
Before heading into their selected movies, patrons sampled several different items from the kitchen.
"We also had some sampler menus so that we could get some feedback on the food items," Leigh said.
Leigh, who is also the owner of Harvest Technologies, said he was excited to see the theatre with future customers inside after more than two years of planning and working on bringing Grand Avenue to Belton.
"It's real exciting to see it come to fruition. There's still a lot of work to do, but it's mostly cosmetic now," Leigh said. "There's a lot of buzz and a lot of people are excited."
The largest of the six theatres holds nearly 300 and features large, faux leather seats brought it from Australia. VIP seating is also available and there is a "Party Room" that can be rented out for birthday parties and other celebrations.
The projection equipment is state-of-the art that includes 3-D, hearing impaired and sub-title capabilites.
Grand Avenue employs 60 workers, including four full-time employees, an executive chef and a sous chef.
"This is not a small market theatre," Leigh said. "This is what you would expect to see in the suburbs of Dallas or Austin or San Antonio."
Leigh said he is thrilled to have the theatre be a part of the continued growth of Belton.
"It's really neat that we can put something like this in Belton," Leigh said. "Belton has always struggled with a retail presence because of the proximity of Killeen, Harker Heights and Temple."
For more information, visit www.grandavenuetheatre.com.