Northern Neck set for its first multiscreen movie theater in 2020
- October 30, 2019
The Northern Neck is getting its first multiscreen movie theater as part of a larger entertainment center that is expected to open in late April.
Compass Entertainment Complex will be built on seven acres of a 22-acre wooded lot between the towns of Kilmarnock and Irvington.
The developers — Julien Patterson and his wife, Terri Wesselman — live in Lancaster County but are better known as the former owners of Omniplex World Services, a security and investigative firm based in Fairfax County. In 2012, they sold the business, which had an annual revenue of more than $100 million.
Since retirement, the couple has invested in Northern Neck businesses, starting an art gallery, a clothing boutique and a coffeehouse.
After researching the market, Patterson says, the couple quickly concluded that a movie theater, along with other family-friendly entertainment options, was what the Northern Neck was missing. The closest movie multiplexes are more than 30 miles away in Gloucester and Yorktown.
“The Northern Neck is a wonderful place to live, work and play in many ways,” Patterson says. “In all of the many things it had to offer, it didn’t have this.”
The theater will show first-run movies, and screens will be available for corporate rental. Patterson also hopes to host team-building activities for businesses, especially during the off-season. The complex will also include go-karts, mini golf and batting cages.
The groundbreaking took place in September, and Connemara Corp. of White Stone will serve as the project’s general contractor, along with JKRP Architects, Amusement Construction Co. Inc. and Harris Miniature Golf Courses Inc.
The couple don’t plan to develop the remaining 15 wooded acres on the site, which is near the Hills Quarter community.
First Bank & Trust Co., a subsidiary of Lebanon-based First Bancorp Inc., provided financing for the complex.
Patterson declines to give a specific cost of the project, but says he does anticipate that the entertainment complex will employ 35 to 40 people year-round and up to 70 people during the summer high season; they expect to begin interviewing prospective employees in January.
“We’re trying to be thoughtful in our approach and our execution,” Patterson says. “When we look at what makes this area so unique, it’s because it’s such a wonderful community for families and young couples.”