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TOPIC: cost per square foot to build new?

cost per square foot to build new? 12 Jan 2002 13:43 #27656

  • Mike
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Of course there's a great difference to build a new theatre depending on where (New York City or Belfast, Maine) regarding land costs, labor costs, etc. but is therese a general rule of thumb. In my case let's say I want to build a 4 screen in a rural town with low land and labor costs. What will it cost to build including booth, concession, seats, etc. Range of costs?

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 12 Jan 2002 19:57 #27657

Looking to build a new theatre, are you?


The basic rule is $125 per square feet of main floor, plus $200,000 per screen.

What auditorium sizes?
Seat counts?
Wanna go old downtown type, or new mega-plex type?
In Belfast, Maine?

More detail please!

Enjoy The Show!

Andrew McCrea
Grand Cameo
Since 1987
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 16 Jan 2002 15:24 #27658

  • John Pytlak
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Andrew: You're amazing! Wish I had your enthusiasm and curiosity when I was 14. Someday, when you are president of a huge theatre circuit or studio, keep me in mind.


John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
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John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 16 Jan 2002 16:24 #27659

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At 14 I too had Andrew's enthusiam except everything I was enthusiastic about required the police coming to see me!

As an example: a friend in Maine built a 5 and then added 2 more. His construction costs are 45-52.00 per foot not including the booth equipment......


I'm looking at number of options right now.. taking over a dilapidated 2 screen, adding 2-4 screens at a seperate location here, a new 3 screen (srt theatre) and etc. They're all on the scary side for different reasons.




Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 16 Jan 2002 17:04 #27660

  • mesbursmith
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Mike:

I hope you keep us in mind if you decide to do something. We can advise you in a creative way, at the same time keep what we do as economical as possible. Check out our website at [url=http://www.mesbursmith.com.]www.mesbursmith.com.[/url] Give us a chance to show you what we're capable of doing. You won't be sorry.
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 24 Jan 2002 17:38 #27661

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To estimate project cost, excluding land and site development costs, we would consult with an experienced and qualified contractor. The information required for an estimate includes:

Building Shell
- Location: Costs vary throughout the US by 75% or more
- Type of project: Free standing, in a shopping centre, addition or renovation
- Quality of finishes
- Acoustic standards
- Complexity of Design: stadium seating, cafes, games room, etc.

FF and E
- New or used equipment
- Degree of automation.
- Sound system: Dolby? THX

Soft Costs
- Architectural and engineering fees,
- Permit and approval costs,
- Construction Insurance
- Construction financing
- Inspection and testing
- Contingency allowance.

A reasonable budget estimate can only be obtained with decent conceptual design drawings prepared by an experienced and creative architect (i.e. Mesbur+Smith!
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 27 Jan 2002 11:35 #27662

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Andrew McCrea:
<B>Looking to build a new theatre, are you?


The basic rule is $125 per square feet of main floor, plus $200,000 per screen.

What auditorium sizes?
Seat counts?
Wanna go old downtown type, or new mega-plex type?
In Belfast, Maine?

More detail please!

</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 27 Jan 2002 11:39 #27663

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by zigmann:
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

can someone roughly breakdown the costs of what makes each screeen $200,000.00? IF someone like myself is is interested in a second run theatre, and there are no empty theatre's to revive, what could I do to bring down costs?


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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 27 Jan 2002 13:39 #27664

  • BECKWITH1
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You are probably not going to be able to build a 2nd run theater. It is too expensive. You will need to build for first run. If you can't be first run in your chosen town, find another town. This is brutal but honest.

You can convert an existing building cheaper than building new, but this is still dicey for 2nd run. There has to be an existing building that is big enough, tall enough, has plenty of space for parking, etc. Your remodeling has to be minimal. If you are lucky enought attend a theater auction of projection equipment you can get some great deals, but if not figure on $60,000 per screen (ballpark) as the cost of putting equipment and seats in your building. Avalon has done it and could probably help you out. Hope this helps.
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 27 Jan 2002 18:37 #27665

Yes. I do not recommend second run, however, our second run theatres (2 Cinema City 8s) do very well.

Go for first run, or make a mix of second and first run for, lets say $6 adults $4 everyone else, like the Towne 8 does. This is the theatre I've tried learning at a couple times and They're quite busy.
Since 1987
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 28 Jan 2002 09:50 #27666

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Zigmann

The cost to equip a screen (the $200,000 quoted by Grand Cameo) is a maximum number, based on digital dolby sound, first class equipment, etc. There are lots of suppliers out there with used equipment, refurbished chairs, etc. which can get your costs per screen way down. One example here in Canada is Cinex Group of Companies, in Napanee, Ontario.
Their website is no longer a valid link. I know there are companies throughout the USA with the same services.
Last Edit: 21 Jun 2010 11:52 by troberts.
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 28 Jan 2002 15:49 #27667

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mesbursmith:
<B>Zigmann

The cost to equip a screen (the $200,000 quoted by Grand Cameo) is a maximum number, based on digital dolby sound, first class equipment, etc. There are lots of suppliers out there with used equipment, refurbished chairs, etc. which can get your costs per screen way down. One example here in Canada is Cinex Group of Companies, in Napanee, Ontario.
Their website is [

It was mentioned that you should have a building big enough. Do you have to have that big of a screen? I really have my eye on doing a theatre pub. Can you have a smaller building with a more intimate viewing room? What are my options for screen size and euipment?
Last Edit: 21 Jun 2010 12:06 by Mike.
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 28 Jan 2002 16:53 #27668

  • mesbursmith
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Zigmann

The size of the building isn't all that relevant. A more important consideration is the proportion of the auditorium space. Asd a general rule of thumb, the width should be about 2/3 of the length, and the height should be about 2/3 of the width. In this ideally proportioned space, the screen size will feel right with the seating layout and capacity. A room that is 40' wide and 60' long should have around 26' of height. This will give you a maximum picture size (in flat) of 38'wide x 20'-6" high. The cinema will accommodate around 225 seats.

If you are doing a theatre pub, which I think is a great idea, your seating capacity will probably drop to about 175 in the same size space,
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 28 Jan 2002 17:54 #27669

  • D. Bird
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Let me pick your brain on one of my biggest beefs with the new plexes: seats where they shouldn't be (too close to the screen). Other night was a prime example. A good crowd for Count of Monte Cristo was packed into the back half of a 354 seat auditorium. Dimensions of aud: 60ft wide, 64ft deep, flat screen at 55ft wide making it roughly 30ft high. Now if SMPTE guidelines are followed, minimum setback (?) for front row is 2X screen height or 60ft. That leaves room for what, two rows? Now, I know these companies don't want to heat dead space, but I feel this does a great disservice to folks who show up for a sell-out and have to sit up there. I will admit, that I find it okay at about 1X screen height, but in front of that is just too close. Or are these seats only installed to boost the house nut? It's not just me either, at this theatre I've never seen any other "uninformed" patrons sit closer than half way up.

[This message has been edited by D. Bird (edited January 28, 2002).]

[This message has been edited by D. Bird (edited January 28, 2002).]
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Re: cost per square foot to build new? 29 Jan 2002 08:45 #27670

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D. Bird

I've personally never seen a theatre laid out according to SMPTE guidelines. John Pytlak and I have had some ongoing dialogue in one of the earlier forums on this topic. We use the rule of thumb that the first row should be set back 1/2 the screen width or 1 x the screen height. This seems to be acceptable to most patrons, and is economically viable for most operators.Of course, it doesn't prevent operators from adding extra rows in front after the theatre is built and us architects are out of the picture.
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