The city is near to closing on the lease with Regal Entertainment Groups to take over CinemaStar theater, which shut down three years ago due to its financial struggles.
"With Regal we don't have that concern," said Emil Marzullo of the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency. "They are the largest entertainment corporation in the United States. They bring with them a following so the restaurants that tend to follow them want to be here."
San Bernardino is hoping the redevelopment of the theater at Fourth and E streets will be the blockbuster they've been looking for when it opens in the spring of 2012.
The redevelopment will feature coffee, Mexican food, sandwich and chicken wing chains, and there are plans to build more restaurants and retail space.
Regal Entertainment will run movies on 14 screens. Work is underway behind the scenes to ready the theater. The concession stand, box office and decor have been gutted for a makeover.
"It's in essence a strategy that we're using that if we can breed success at this location, success will expand block by block," Marzullo said.
Success will depend largely on residents who currently must drive out of town to watch first-run movies on the big screen.
"Sometime we have to go to the Ontario Mall. They have a great movie theater out there," said San Bernardino resident Leonara Williams.
Once the lease is signed, the City Council must approve it.