By LISA STEEN PROCTOR
If all goes as planned, South Bay residents won't have to drive far to catch a movie or buy a used car.
The area is getting its fair share of numerous mega-plex movie theater projects sprouting up around Los Angeles County. Meanwhile, proposals for sprawling used car lots are in the works at three South Bay locations.
During the first quarter of 1997, General Cinema Corp. began construction on a 16-screen theater at the Galleria at the South Bay. It is being built on top of the Torrance mall's parking structure.
AMC Entertainment Inc. has also begun construction on a movie mega-plex with 20 to 22 screens in the Rolling Hills Shopping Center at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Crenshaw Boulevard.
These new theaters will be added to a string of mega-plexes already recently completed in the area, including a 16-screen complex by Pacific Theatres Corp. on Rosecrans Avenue in El Segundo.
Will all these big theater complexes one day saturate the market?
It's too soon to tell, said Ted Dawson, vice president at CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc. "The 16-plex Pacific in Continental Park seems to be doing very well," he said. "(The other mega-plexes) will initially do well. In the long run, it will be harder to tell."
Meanwhile, large-scale used car lots also are making inroads into the South Bay. Chains such as CarMax Inc. (a division of Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City Stores Inc.) and AutoNation (started by Blockbuster Video founder H. Wayne Huizenga) have been on the look-out for large parcels of land in L.A. County to set up lots that offer cars from different manufacturers without the usual haggling associated with car purchases.
They apparently found what they were looking for in the South Bay.
An AutoNation is being developed on the corner of Normandie Avenue and 190th Street at the South Bay Town Center in the Torrance Central submarket.
The chain has also committed to being a part of a Long Beach redevelopment project at the Long Beach Town Center, located at the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway and Carson Street. The project will involve more than 1 million square feet of retail space; retail anchors will be announced in the next 30 to 60 days, said Bill Bauman, vice president of the retail properties group at The Seeley Co. Construction on the project is slated to begin this summer, he said.
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