Colorado West Cinemas

2424 Highway 6 & 50,
Grand Junction, CO 81505

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The Colorado West Theatres (at Mesa Mall), started as a twin screen mall theatre. It was started in the early-1980’s as a two screen anchor theatre in Grand Junction’s new (and still only) shopping mall. It was located on the northwest side of the mall between Sears and the Cafe Court. The theatres were oriented east to west with the lobby on east off the mall and the screens on the west facing east. The entry to houses were on each side of the concession stand, house one on the south, house two on the north. A set of stairs on the north led to the booth. The office was off the main lobby by the office.

The theatre was initially two houses of equal size of about 400 seats each. Projection Century projectors and soundheads, illuminated by Strong Super Lume-X lamp houses. Both houses were built as automated with Drive-In Theatre Mfg / Speco plater system. Sound in one house was mono, the second had stereo with DBX noise reduction

Within a few years the theatres were sold to Commonwealth when they took over the Westland Theatre chain (and its assets in Grand Junction).

In 1989 Commonwealth/UA expanded the theatres in response to Carmike coming into the area. Two additional smaller theatres were added in the then open area off the north entrance to Mesa Mall. They were smaller than the first two houses but well developed and equipped. As part of the addition the original theatres were also updated to provide the very best in sight and sound reproduction for the venue.

The two new houses the projection, sound and amplification was moved from the original two screens. The original screens were updated with new Simplex projection and sound. Also added was (then) state-of-the-art Dolby sound pickups, decoders and multiple Crown amplifiers. The overall experience was excellent for theatres of their size, in a town of Grand Junction’s size in the late-1980’s.

The theatre was thoughtfully overseen by a capable manager, Dieter Sutherland. He started with Westland Theatres in the 1960’s in Colorado Springs. In the late-1960’s he was moved to Grand Junction. Over the years he managed the Mesa, Teller Arms Twin, Colorado West, and lastly the Regal Theatre. Under the Westland, Commonwealth UA, etc. system he was considered the City Manger. This meant he was the titular overseer of the local theatre venues for the company.

Regal Cinema ultimately was successor to the UA assets and chain. As part of their expansion and improvement plan they built a new multiplex in Grand Junction in the early-2000’s, just north of Mesa Mall. As a result, the Colorado West closed. The staff and manager, Mr. Sutherland, were moved to the new location at 648 Market Street. The Colorado West was closed and the lease with Mesa Mall terminated.

The space in Mesa Mall was re-developed and is now the location of Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Contributed by Nick Genova
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