Cascade plans don't include theater

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Plans are in the works to replace the Cascade Village Theatre with shops and office space. Theater owner Steve Lindstrom said the space was never intended to be a movie theater.
Preston Utley/Vail Daily

Scott N. Miller
November 21, 2005

VAIL - The rebuilding boom in Vail may hit Cascade Village in the next couple of years. That may take a couple of movie screens from town.

The latest in the very long line of development proposals in Vail would transform the old Colorado Mountain College Center and the Cascade Village Theatre into a combination of shop space, offices and condominiums.

The college space has been for sale for a few years, and it is now under contract to part-time Vail resident Michael Hecht.

Local theater owner Steve Lindstrom has been talking to Hecht about putting the former college space and the theater space together as part of a larger project for that part of the village.

A thorough redo may be what that part of Vail has needed since it was built, Lindstrom said.

"There's been a functional question with that space since day one," Lindstrom said. "The theater wasn't originally designed as a theater."

But nothing's going to happen with the theater space in the near future, Lindstrom said.

"There's a lengthy redevelopment process," he said. "These things typically take a few years."

The timing just might work out that a new theater would open in Vail before that part of Cascade Village is ready for the wreckers. Developer Peter Knobel is ready to resubmit plans for a new Crossroads center. The most recent version of that proposal includes a three-screen movie theater. Lindstrom's company runs the two-screen theater in Crossroads now.

But, Lindstrom said, the Crossroads and Cascade Village plans aren't really related.

"This was an independent decision," Lindstrom said. And, he added, the decision to do something else with the Cascade Village property was made some time ago.

Cascade Village was first intended to be sort of like Lionshead - another busy portal to the ski mountain. But those plans never jelled, leaving that part of Vail somewhat isolated.

Now, with a hotel and athletic club the main things that bring people to Cascade, it's not really the best place for a theater, Lindstrom said. Once college administrators decided to move the operations in Vail to Edwards, it became obvious that even less local traffic would be coming to the Cascade Village area, he added.

Crossroads is different.

"That's an appropriate place for a movie theater," Lindstrom said. "You want a draw, a destination that has retail and dining. It makes sense to have entertainment there."

But, Lindstrom said, he was thinking about what to do with the Cascade Village property not long after he set up shop there.

"That building's 23 years old now," he said. "For about the last 22 years, we've been trying to figure out how to make it work."

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or