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TOPIC: expsenses before the loan

expsenses before the loan 25 Feb 2004 08:48 #7735

Hello all,
Have greatly enjoyed the site, archives and current forums. Thanks to all for sharing your experiences and expertise.

I'm looking to renovate a vacant department store,(57,000 sq ft), into a 8 screen. I need construction figures for the business plan but I don't want to put out $5,000-$10,000 for detailed blue prints just for the proposal.

I have plenty of construction contacts, but I don't feel I can bring in any ol'e construction company for an estimate because of the unique details involved in theaters,(ie site lines and elevations).

Any suggestions on how to proceed?


Thanks,
Jay


[This message has been edited by theater magic (edited February 25, 2004).]
Thanks,
Jay
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Re: expsenses before the loan 25 Feb 2004 09:55 #7736

  • jimor
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Jay, we can all understand your desire to save money, but an outlay of $5K or so for a Proposal with some detail drawings (not complete blueprints) is really a small outlay if you consider that it will probably cost you upwards of a half million for an 8-plex in a converted structure. The complexities of working around existing superstructure, which may include the costs of guting demolition as well as code upgrades, are so great and unique to the situation, that you would be foolish not to have an architect experienced in cinemas/theatres do a work-up for you. This is not the kind of enterprise where you can jump in feet first and hope for the best! The day and age of the Nicelodeon storefront theatre with a few chairs and a bed sheet for a screen are long gone, and high priced luxuries for the patrons and life safety concerns are often the determining factors even before you contemplate location.

There are many ads in the Directory area here and elsewhere ( [url=http://www.CinemaTreasures.org,]www.CinemaTreasures.org,[/url] [url=http://www.CinemaTour.com,]www.CinemaTour.com,[/url] [url=http://www.LHAT.org,]www.LHAT.org,[/url] [url=http://www.HistoricTheatres.org,]www.HistoricTheatres.org,[/url] for example) by competent men experienced in the unique requirements of cinema and theatre architecture and the building codes and costs affecting them. You're right that you can't just bring in any ol' construction company for an estimate; it requires experts in this expert field. Would you ask 'Jo Blo' construction co. down the street to estimate doing a 100-story skyscraper? Obviously not. You would interview and research dozens of the biggest firms of builders/architects in the nation first. In some ways a theatre/cinema is just as risky and specialized as a skyscraper, and only the naive would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the speculations of the inexperienced. Best Wishes.

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited February 25, 2004).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: expsenses before the loan 29 Feb 2004 21:23 #7737

jimor,
Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I assure you, that if my decision on this location were to sign the lease and start construction, I would have a set of plans to optimize my customers comfort, viewing experience and saftey reguardless of the cost. But if I decide on another location or new construction I would rather not have had to put out such a large expense for nothing. I'm just looking for a less exspensive alternative to help with decision making and business plans/proposals.

If there is an alternative I would love the input.

Jay


[This message has been edited by theater magic (edited February 29, 2004).]
Thanks,
Jay
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Re: expsenses before the loan 01 Mar 2004 09:39 #7738

  • jimor
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If I understand your response correctly, you are really looking for 'model' plans for a general type of cinema, since you now mention the possibility of new construction. Yes, it would be possible to have a 'typical' drawing done for what you are interested in. I do not know of any book having sets of plans of modern multiplexes; the only thing close to such that I know of is "American Theatres of Today" but that 'today' was 1930!

What you might do, is notice a cinema that you mostly like, and go to the building inspection dept. of the municipality it is in, and ask to print out a copy of its blueprints (often on microfilm or microfiche) , since such are public records, and show such a copy to a prospective builder/site owner. You would have to have the address of the place to give the clerk. Photos of the 'typical' model would also help, to give a builder your idea to get estimates. You would also want to make up a list of features as well as seating capacity you are looking at.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: expsenses before the loan 01 Mar 2004 16:38 #7739

  • BECKWITH1
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Just a caution here. We tried getting copies of the building plans for our 1972 era theater. The city did not keep plans at that time. We checked with both the State of Ohio and the county building department. (Also the building owner). Came up with zero. That was very unfortunate as that would have caused us to have the building re-drawn as built before we could proceed with alterations. I hope that this doesn't happen to you.
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Re: expsenses before the loan 02 Mar 2004 09:19 #7740

  • jimor
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Beckwith is right that many governments do not keep building plans after the approval/permit process is completed, unfortunately. This has caused a great loss to history in many areas. We were fortunate here in the Milwaukee area to have a forward-looking man by the name of Bert Hartinger who in 1960 was ordered to dispose of many thousands of plans that had accumulated in the city's vaults, but he foresaw the present and future benefits of such drawings and persuaded his superiors to pay for microfilming them by Bert's staff. Now we at least have film copies of thousands of buildings no longer with us, including many theatres! Bert is retired now, and the new cut-the-budget administrations may not continue this, but at least some notable architectural art is preserved in duplicatable form.

In 1975 was established the Wis. Architectural Archive here and it now contains thousands of donated prints/drawings from dozens of architects' offices and their descendents. They also have hundreds of plans from jobs outside of Wisconsin, so one might inquire of them by mail at: Curator, WISCONSIN ARCHITECTURAL ARCHIVE, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233. If you can give the address of the property of interest, and the name of the architect, it will help greatly in their search.

This also brings up the advantage of contacting the architect who designed a building of interest, since they often keep plans of jobs they have done years after completion. The same goes for anyone called on to remodel a structure, since relodeling/alteration plans often contain lots of data about the original structure. The association of architects in a state may be able to help one locate the architect even if he is with a new firm or in retirement (drawings often go with a retiring man to his home). The American Institute of Architects has a web site, and they may also be able to help as often can local/state historical societies who sometimes 'inherit' building plans. They and public libraries sometimes also know of the last known address of an architect of record, and even if he is deceased, his descendants often have his work drawings stored somewhere along with photos! Since it is often the daughters who keep their father's work, be sure to look up any obituary to find the daughters' married name and city of residence. Be prepared to contact such by mail first, usually offering some "compensation" for their efforts to locate some of the data you seek. Some states, such as Wis., sometimes keep a Necrology, a record of the death notices and some vital statistics of the deceased, which may be of help in locating heirs of property owners as well as architects. Former property owners often fail to turn over to the new owner all the original documents. Property owners can also be traced using the Register of Deeds usually at the county seat.

And don't forget to contact local and state universities/colleges which often have local history offices, architectural schools with archives, or libraries where someone will know of where drawings might be found. In small communities, it is sometimes best to look for the oldest residents who may know someone who knows someone to refer you to, especially as regards neighbors of the property. Best Wishes.



[This message has been edited by jimor (edited March 02, 2004).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: expsenses before the loan 02 Mar 2004 10:28 #7741

  • Mike
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1/2 million? Forget it. We spent 225K on a existing 2 screen. 8 screens? Minimum of 800K and up-up-up! Min of 200 K for seats alone! Then there's walls-acoustics-carpet-proj-sound-screens-baths-concess-fire-safety-etc!

I would suggest that as a basic you get a per screen equip cost est from suppliers. A concession stand est from suppliers. The rest will be odds and ends and related to your building.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
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Re: expsenses before the loan 05 Mar 2004 11:45 #7742

Thanks to all for your responses.

The model suggestion sounds good I'll see what I can find.

A neighbor of mine is a commercial/industrial site inspector. He said many smaller contracts have peliminary drawings made by design/architectural firms at substantially reduced rates for contractor quotes, with the condition that if the plan goes forward the same firm would be used for the whole project at normal rates.

I'm going to pursue this method with theater designers on the web. Worth a try!

Heres a chuckle for you. I contacted a architect that was suggested by an acquantance who works on very large projects. with a description over the phone of the existing facility he told me the three stages of drawings, (the third being the one I could get construction quotes on), would run me $200,000
. So I'm sticking to theater specialists.



Thanks,
Jay
Thanks,
Jay
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Re: expsenses before the loan 18 Mar 2004 13:04 #7743

  • NanEman
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If you are still in the financing stages, but need to have some type of drawings to go along with your business plan, you can opt for a "conceptual design" of your proposed theater. This type of design is not fully flushed-out with every regulatory factor (be it local or not), but gives the basic layout, seating capacity, etc.

We found ourselves in need of a conceptual plan for our build-to-suit situation (landowner builds theater and leases it back to us). The conceptual plan was only a fraction of the cost of the full plans and the cost of the conceptual design will be credited back to us if we desire the theater design firm to do the final set of plans. Our cost for the conceptual came in under $2K. A qualified theater design firm is a good way to get your ball rolling.
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