TWIN FALLS — Long gone are the days when Twin Falls residents could pull into a lot, get their popcorn and watch a film under the open sky. But recreation will still play some part in the future of one of the town’s old drive-in theaters.
The fence surrounding the former Motor-Vu Drive-in was taken down this week to help prepare for development. The screen will probably be removed after Christmas, said Tyler Davis-Jeffers, managing director with developer Summit Creek Capital.
“We’re developing the back side of the property first,” Davis-Jeffers said.
This first phase will become Eastland Storage Solutions, a site for RV and boat storage, storage units and an office with an on-site manager. Construction will be complete on this part of the project in June or July, he said.
Meanwhile, there’s still much to be cleaned up from the lot. Rocky Mountain Excavation will try to recycle as many materials as possible, Davis-Jeffers said.
One thing developers examined on the property was a concessions building that had been abandoned since the Motor-Vu Drive-in closed around 2015. The inside was full of debris, bird feces, dead cats and rats, he said.
“Unfortunately there’s not really much of a demand for drive-in movie theaters anymore,” Davis-Jeffers said.
The theater was built in 1947 and began operating in 1948, according to Times-News archives. It remained in operation for more than 65 years.
The theater was closed several years ago after a water pipe break went undetected for several months and caused $28,000 in damage. The theater was also having difficulties in finding movies that were released on 35mm film, and Cinema West and Interstate Amusement Inc. determined converting to digital and repairing the building would be cost-prohibitive, the Times-News previously reported.
Summit Creek Capital will start early design and development of the section with frontage along Eastland Drive next year, Davis-Jeffers said. Construction will begin in late summer, and that part of the property will be for mixed commercial use with professional offices. The portion of the property closest to the cemetery will be for more storage spaces and units as needed.
Another former drive-in theater in Twin Falls was rezoned last year to allow for Muni Storage to expand its storage and U-Haul rental business. The Grand-Vu Drive-in had been in operation for more than 60 years, the Times-News previously reported.