Bethel’s movie theater-store project on track

by Angela Denning-Barnes on August 20, 2013

The outer shell of Kipusvik is complete. Photo by Dean Swope

The outer shell of Kipusvik is complete. Photo by Dean Swope

It’s hard to miss the new construction project that’s being erected near the YKHC administration building along Bethel’s main highway. It’s enormous by Bethel standards covering 60,000 square feet. The project, named Kipusvik, combines a new super store and movie theater and it’s on track to open next July.

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It’s a joint venture between Omni, which owns Swanson’s stores, and the Bethel Native Corporation. Omni will run the new store while BNC will operate the movie theater.

The specs break down like this: The grocery store makes up most of the footprint at 50,000 square feet. There will be two screen movie theaters. One of them will seat 150 people and the other 75 people. Together, they make up 6,000 square feet. A food court and commons area make up the remaining 4,000 square feet.

BNC President, Ana Hoffman, walks us through what the main entrance will be like.

“The front area will be all glass. So, it will be an inviting space with a lot of light,” Hoffman says. “You’ll walk in and you’ll come up to a deli and food court service area that will serve both the patrons of the store and theater goers. So, popcorn and drinks and things are going to be served there. And as you are walking in there will be a seating area to your right. There will be chairs and tables there for people that come in for lunch or snacks or if you’re coming in and waiting for your movie you can get something to eat there then head on over to your movie. That will also have a mezzanine so there will be seating and eating upstairs as well in front of the wall of glass so you can enjoy the scenery as people come and go.”

Construction workers on site Aug. 20. Photo by Dean Swope

Construction workers on site Aug. 20. Photo by Dean Swope


The store will be two stories and include an elevator. The store will feature a back loading area for village shoppers with the idea that people can pack their sleds and vehicles there.

H“We’re going to have a designated snow machine and four wheeler parking area to accommodate the patrons that come in from the villages,” says Hoffman. “It’s going to be located conveniently close to the river to see that traffic come in, it’s close by the hospital, the post office isn’t far away, so it should provide some good central commerce in that area.”

On Aug. 21, BNC is inviting everyone to come to a ceremony that celebrates the completion of the outer shell of the building.

“It’s just called the “Topping Off Ceremony” and we will have a person hoisted up in a man lift and we will place a flag at the top of the structure there so the public will know that this is the shell, this is what the building will look like and we’ll continue on with construction,” Hoffman says.

The topping off ceremony will happen at 6 p.m. at the construction site. BNC is also celebrating the 40th year of its incorporation as well.

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