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TOPIC: Help me on this deal?

Help me on this deal? 15 Feb 2002 15:17 #27689

  • xirtam
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I stated in my last posting on "Historic Theaters" that I have been searching for theaters for sale. In my search I recently received a reply from an agent listing a theater for lease in my area. This is what I know about the theater- 6 screens; 1085 stadium style seats in 4 of the theaters(I believe this is different from true stadium seating); 6 projectors; concession equipment (no soda or popcorn);film spooling systems are in place.
The theater is located in a plaza and the anchor store is Value City Department store. I think there is a pizza shop along with a few other stores. Parking is good. The population is about 18,000. According to Yahoo the closest theater is about 15 miles away. I do have a population breakdown(demographics)

I am confused on the price breakdown the agent sent me. If you reply to me by e-mail I can let you know what they are. There's more information I have but I'm taking up enough space with this posting. Let me know what else I should find out. I don't know why the theater is for lease. This being my first theater I think 6 might be too much. The owner is also working with developers to put in a store of some sort. I was thinking if I could work out a deal to keep 3 screens and the other half of the theater could be developed. I am definetly going to look at the theater
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Re: Help me on this deal? 15 Feb 2002 17:49 #27690

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Now which is it that you are interested in? A historic theatre or an older multi-plex? There are no historic multiplexes. There are some historic theatres that have been multiplexed, but it most cases they have lost there historic value in the process of being multied. A couple that I can think of that came through the plexing still looking pretty much original and still being able to carry the mantel of historic theatre are the Grand Lake in Oakland, CA. where the balcony became a 2nd theatre and stores within the building became new auditoriums, and the Sameric (orginally the Boyd)in Philadelphia where three additional auditoriums were added nextdoor and the original auditorium and lobbies are still completely intact. There are others, but few are still operating as movie theatres as those two are. Classifying a theatre or any building for that matter, as a historic building usually requires it to be over 50 years old. None of the newly built twins, tri-plexes, quads, or multi-plexes are yet to fall under that classification.

You ask the question that you don't know why the theatre is available for lease. I don't know either, but my guess would be that it was unprofitable. Of course there could be other reasons, but that is generally the number one reason. What is the theatre complex like that is 15 miles away? That isn't very far away... a 15 or 20 minute drive depending on the road system.

In my opinion, with this 6 plex, it would be more risky to try and compete with a new (or newer) multi-plex closeby then to run an historic theatre even if it was still a single screen. The movie going public will compare the plexes against one another, and if yours is the lesser of the two, you will lose out. If you operate an old historic theatre, restored and run just like it did back in it's heyday, then you have something that might stand far above what the competition can offer. It has been my experience that you can't just run an old theatre and expect to compete with a new multi-plex. You have to operate your historic venue like a theme park. It has to be special, totally unique... something that is entirely different then what the plex offers, and it has to be better. And since your operating a historic theatre, then why not carry through on that theme, and run it like it was meant to be run, like it was run. The best part about doing that is that the press will eat it up. They love doing stories about old theatres, and the press coverage you can get will be priceless, and virtually endless. I get my historic theatre in the paper or on TV at least twice a month. There's always another story to be told about an old theatre. The plexes just have nothing to offer for press coverage.

PS.
If you want to e-mail me with those figures, I would be happy to take a look at them for you.


[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited February 15, 2002).]
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Re: Help me on this deal? 15 Feb 2002 20:13 #27691

  • Mike
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Send them to me privately if you wish but what is great about these forums is that they accumulate value as more information gets posted. Don't worry about taking up room. 15 miles sounds good to me! Population sounds low. Often there's a large pop if you do a 10 mile circle. Or split the diff.....7.5 miles..... how far is the competion and how many people will you get by default. Best/ Mike

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Help me on this deal? 15 Feb 2002 22:16 #27692

  • xirtam
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It turns out that Yahoo's theater search was not correct. I was recommended to try Hollywood.com and did. The results were up to date and listed a newer 9 screen auditorium seating digital sound system theater that is about 2 miles away. This is obviously the reason the 6 screen theater went out of business.


PS I just thought this listing on the 6 screen theater was worth getting some of your opinions; that's why I posted "Help me with this deal"
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Re: Help me on this deal? 18 Feb 2002 11:57 #27693

  • mesbursmith
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Xirtam

As cinema architects, we have had the opportunity to renovate / restore many historic theatres in LA, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, and Cleveland. The ones that remain economically viable are the ones that get split up, with a few exceptions. We recently completed the restoration of the Shaker Square Cinema in Cleveland, which was a 1937 art deco theatre designed by the famous cinema architect John Eberson. We fully restored the lobby, added new deco-style concession stand, and split the auditorium and balcony into six cinemas, all stadium. We took great care to save all the historic plasterwork and detail in the original auditorium, in case at some point in the future the theatre reverts back to a single auditorium. We also took care to decorate each auditorium with colours and motifs that recall the deco lobby. I believe the theatre is operating very successfully. You can see it and some other restoration projects of ours on our web site www.mesbursmith.com
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