Medjool owner Gus Murad, who we know has been sitting on and contemplating a use for the historic New Mission Theater for several years, has finally made his plans known via an agenda item at tomorrow's Historic Preservation Commission hearing. He's planning to restore and reuse the theater as a five-screen cinema to be operated by Texas-based, beer-slinging movie chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.
We heard last spring that Murad had unloaded the next-door Giant Value property for a 95-unit condo development that remains in the works from Oyster Development Group, and Murad likely stands to gain from both projects, with proceeds from the condo deal helping to subsidize the extremely expensive restoration and seismic upgrades to the theater. Murad purchased the theater way back in 2003, and his efforts to get the condo project off the ground were stymied several times. If you want to see some photos of the space as it looks now, see them here.
Tomorrow, the preservationists will be making a decision about the plans Murad and Alamo have for reconfiguring the historic theater, which has been defunct for decades and which would get subdivided, with the original main auditorium remaining mostly intact and the balconies becoming four smaller-screen auditoriums. The ground-floor projection room space would become a bar (it could be a full liquor bar if the Board of Supervisors ever passes the exception on new liquor licenses in the Mission for movie theaters and bowling alleys), and there would be a food menu, as well as drinks you can bring into the theater. Per Alamo's website, the chain is staunchly against playing ads before movies. "Instead of ads or mind-numbing content named after the number of minutes you have to sit through it if you get to the theater early, we create custom pre-shows with content themed to most of the features we program."
Also notable: Their Austin location is currently playing The Bodyguard, in honor of Whitney's passing, as part of their Box Wine Cinema series.
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