Pilot Butte 6 nears closure

Proposal would close east Bend movie theater, convert it to retail stores

By Elon Glucklich / The Bulletin

Published: May 27. 2013 4:00AM PST

An Idaho development company is moving ahead with its plan to purchase the Pilot Butte 6 movie theater site in east Bend, converting it into a Walgreens pharmacy and retail shopping center.

Officials with Boise-based Hawkins Cos. are set to meet Thursday with Bend Community Development Department staff before submitting a formal project application, said Brandon Whallon, a pre-development project manager with the company.

Hawkins has been eyeing the theater site for a shopping center since last fall. Last week, the company submitted a completeness check application with the city, requesting a meeting to discuss the proposal and make sure the developers have addressed any planning or construction issues.

Regal Entertainment Group put the building up for sale in mid-2011, according to The Bulletin’s archives, with a listing price of $2.9 million.

Regal operates the Pilot Butte 6 theater, as well as the Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX theater.

Because of a deed restriction laid out by Regal Entertainment Group, a new owner can’t operate a movie theater on the site because it would compete with Regal’s Old Mill 16 theater.

Regal still owns the 5.7-acre property at U.S. Highway 20 and Northeast 27th Street, Deschutes County property records show.

But Regal would sell it to Hawkins Cos. if the city approves the plan, according to planning documents on file with the city of Bend.

“We think we have a complete application, but we’re going to verify with the city that it is complete,” Whallon said, referring to the Thursday meeting.

Hawkins Cos. seems confident the project will get approved. In an online real estate brochure on its website, the company is already listing the theater building as available for new tenants. Planning documents show Hawkins plans to partition the theater into three smaller storefronts that could accommodate retail tenants.

The company also plans to build a 14,500-square-foot Walgreens pharmacy in the Pilot Butte 6 parking lot. Construction on the pharmacy could start later this summer, Whallon said. The city has up to 120 days to review the proposal. Whallon said he wasn’t sure when the theater building would be converted into retail stores.

“We’re still looking for tenants,” he said. “Our timeline has been pushed back a bit, just going through the development process.”

Hawkins first filed planning documents in January, outlining its intent to purchase the theater. The developers held a public meeting in March to discuss the proposal.

Pilot Butte 6 opened in 1994. It has been known to show alternative and independent films, while Old Mill 16 typically shows more mainstream films.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820,