Bijou theater plans to build downtown cinema

EUGENE, Ore. - The well-known independent theater, Bijou Arts Cinema, on 13th street in Eugene has been serving the area for more than 30 years.

"We get movies that nobody else really gets," said Joe Lewis, officer manager for the theater.

The movie theater inhabits the Wilcox building which was was first used as a church, then a morgue. It was in 1980 when the facility was incorporated as a cinema.

"We've done a lot of renovations and we now have digital projection which I think increases the experience of the film goer," Lewis said.

The only problem for the theater is they have too many movies and not enough room to screen them all. The Bijou currently only has only two screens in the set up in the Wilcox building.

"We have two screens and the number of movies we have exceeds that," Lewis said.

Now with new ownership, the theater is finally able to expand and build a new theater on the corner of Willamette and Broadway.

"There will be 4 smaller screens and we hope that we can have earlier matinees everyday and continue to do our regular programming and late night showings," Lewis said.

The new theater will be called Bijou Metro. It will be constructed where the old Taco Time building still stands. Tom Kamis owns Davis Restaurant and Bar just down the block. Kamis said the theater is something that could really liven up the downtown area.

"A downtown movie theater? Yeah, it's definitely needed," Kamis said. "I think there's just a couple more empty spaces we have to fill and then downtown will be thriving hopefully."

Through the new cinema, officials with the Bijou theater said they can ultimately bring more movies to more people.

"I essentially think that we're proud of the fact that we can continue the role that we've established in Eugene for the last 30 years," Lewis said. "I'm confident that the next 30 years will be as exciting."

The new theater will also provide beer, wine, and even a gourmet menu.

No word on when construction is set to begin on the new theater.