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Teaneck Theatre saved 10 Apr 2013 14:50 #39901

  • Mike
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just goes to show... if it is such a bad biz why are people leaping in, spending 500K on a single screen, and signing 20 year leases?
Northjersey.com : News
A new beginning for old Teaneck movie theater
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 3:48 PM
BY MEGAN BURROW
MANAGING EDITOR
Teaneck Suburbanite
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TEANECK - Plush new seats were carried through the doors of the Teaneck movie theater last week, the first sign of life at the shuttered cinema since its screens went dark last November.
Matthew Latten, the new owner of the movie theater on Cedar Lane, is currently doing renovations and says it will reopen in the summer.
MITSU YASUKAWA/THE RECORD
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Matthew Latten, the new owner of the movie theater on Cedar Lane, is currently doing renovations and says it will reopen in the summer.
A worker carries new seats into the movie theater, which is under renovation.
MITSU YASUKAWA/THE RECORD
Buy or license this photo
A worker carries new seats into the movie theater, which is under renovation.

With the help of several friends, the new operator, Matthew Latten, worked for about six hours to unload the seats last Wednesday, April 3. He signed a 20-year lease for the theater that morning and said he is shooting for an early July opening.

Latten, a 26-year-old from Long Island, co-owns Sayville Cinemas in Sayville, Long Island. He said the two theaters share many of the same qualities: a downtown location, family friendly atmosphere and affordable prices.

When Cedar Lane Cinemas closed last year, Nelson Page of Majestic-Star Entertainment, the former operator of Cedar Lane Cinemas, had cited the high cost of converting the theater to digital projection as the reason for its closure.

When the theater opens this summer, under its new name Teaneck Cinemas, Latten said the all-digital projectors and sound won't be the only changes theater-goers notice.

"It's going to be a total facelift. If it's not a wall, it's coming down," Latten said. The seats will be bigger, the old carpeting will be replaced and the walls repainted.

A storefront just to the west will be connected to the theater and used to host children's birthday parties.

In all, he said he plans to invest about $500,000 in the upgrades.

The landlord also plans to invest in the property, including installing a new heating and air conditioning system, repointing the bricks and resealing the fa├žade.

Since the theater closed last year, Dennis Gralla, a consultant for Cedar Lane Teaneck Corp., the company that owns the theater, worked to find a tenant committed to operating the theater for the long haul. "We needed a permanent solution," he said. "I didn't want to be back in this situation five or 10 years from now."

He said that Latten's company was chosen from about eight interested parties, from as far away as Texas and Maryland. Gralla said it was important to the landlord to find an experienced operator from the tri-state area who was committed to making the investment necessary to make the theater a success.

"People need to be wowed when they walk in," Gralla said. "If people came in and saw the same old theater, there's no chance it would survive. This had to be done right."

Latten has been around the movie industry since he was a child, going with his father, a projectionist, as he went on service calls to local theaters. Later, he went on service calls himself, even taking trips out to Teaneck to fix the projectors at Cedar Lane Cinemas.

On his visits Latten said he saw the old theater's potential, and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of its renaissance.
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Michael Hurley
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Teaneck Theatre saved 10 Apr 2013 16:56 #39902

  • JPRM
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Great news! That's a lot of money to spend to bring back a one-screen theater, but hats off to anyone with the guts and vision to take something like this on.
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Teaneck Theatre saved 11 Apr 2013 04:11 #39903

  • Andrew Thomas
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A 20 year lease? Unless the property owner is putting up at least HALF of that $500k, I don't know what this guy is thinking.
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