Mann plan thinning

Westwood multiplex to trim at least 800 seats

In an effort to streamline the development of the Westwood Marketplace complex, Mann Theatres has scaled back its planned multiplex at the site from 2,800 seats to a maximum of 2,000 seats.

The announcement was made by Regent Properties partner Jeff Dinkin, at a meeting Thursday with local merchants at the Westwood Macy’s.

By reducing the number of seats, Mann and the developers hope to comply with parking guidelines set out in the Westwood Specific Plan.

Dinkin also announced that the project had cleared another hurdle by leasing a key property at the site.

Regent and Mann have been locked in a rancorous battle for control of Westwood’s cinemas with rival developer Ira Smedra.

Smedra hopes to break ground on his more ambitious Village Center Westwood — which includes a planned 3,400-seat Pacific Theatres multiplex — within a year.

Further reduction possible

Mann CEO Jeff Lewine confirmed the planned seat reduction Tuesday, adding that the circuit would consider even a further reduction if it would help get the complex off the ground.

“Anything we can do to expedite the project and help get it built we will try to do,” said Lewine.

Mann had planned to scrap all of its existing Westwood theaters, with the exception of the Village, Bruin and Festival, in order to comply with the Specific Plan’s 6,000-seat cap. Under the new plan, Mann also will spare the National.

The circuit is committed to modernizing all of the remaining theaters, according to Lewine.

Local land use activist Laura Lake said she was generally pleased with the changes to the Regent project.

“If they scale it down and keep the parking spaces, there’s far less of a parking deficit and it’s probably a better project,” said Lake. “The idea is to deviate as little as possible from the Specific Plan.”