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KENNER, La. - Kenner received an economic shot in the arm on Wednesday when it began work on a new movie theater at Esplanade Mall.

At 9:30 a.m., crews will break ground on the Grand 14 Esplanade, which will feature 14 screens, stadium seating and 3D digital projectors. One auditorium will have a three story high screen.

'I've always said there's a lot of things you can do in Kenner without having to leave the city limits. Well one of those things you had to do was go to a stadium theater, because we didn't have one. Now we do,' said Mayor Mike Yenni. 'There's no reason to leave Kenner now if you're a Kenner resident. We invite people in neighboring Metairie and St. Charles to come on!'

Kenner is very dependent on sales taxes and the hope is that the theater will be a big engine for the area, Yenni said.

The Esplanade Mall has been struggling and the Simon Corporation has done an excellent job trying to get other stores in, he said. Their most recent victory was the attainment of a Target.

There are talks of a 'Towne Centre' in the area, and the theater is key to this development, he said.

The theater on the west side of the mall is expected to open in summer 2013.

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