$22 Million Waukee Movie Theater Focuses on Comfort and Amenities

WAUKEE, Iowa -- In a matter of 12 months, a locally owned theater company plans to turn a vacant lot between Northeast Westgate Drive and Northeast Dartmoore Drive in Waukee into a 15–screen multiplex movie theater.

On Wednesday, city leaders and Fridley Theaters celebrated the work already being done on the property. The Palms will feature 15 screens, an 85-foot-wide IMAX screen, heated and reclining seats as well as in – theater dining service. The theaters operation director, Russell Vannorsdel, says the focus is on amenities and comfort.

“It used to be that you would try and jam as many seats into an auditorium as you can but now it’s about the comfort,” he says.

Movie goers say they’re eager see what the theater has to offer. “It kind of gives you the home theater feel,” says Karissa Schweizer.

Others like the idea of a more traditional movie theater. “I just feel like it`s a little overblown and kind of more distracting for the people focused on the movie at times,” Ryan Schweizer says.

Fridley Theaters describes the theater as one-of-a-kind however there are five other luxury styles cinemas around the metro. Vannorsdel says there is a growing niche for luxury theaters, calling them the “new traditional” theater.

The $22 million project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.