Alamo Drafthouse Cancels Plans for the Metro Theater in Manhattan
It was with a heavy heart that we bring you this news. The Alamo Drafthouse posted an update on their blog confirming that their first Manhattan location, at the Metro Theater on the Upper West Side, has been cancelled. At least for now. The news, backed up by quotes from Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League in the NY Times, explains that the costs of the location have risen substantially since Superstorm Sandy last year "and ultimately the location is no longer financially viable for us." So they're stopping construction on this second New York City location, but still have plans to finish their downtown Brooklyn location (and they recently opened up in Yonkers nearby). This was the one theater I was waiting for, so sad to hear this.
The update on their blog adds: "An often-stated priority for the Alamo Drafthouse has been to open a venue in New York City. While that still stands true, the reality of the upper west side Metro is that too much has changed since we initially began work on the location… We would love to make the upper west side location our next neighborhood theater in New York, but we cannot see this particular location as sustainable under current conditions." That's really tough to hear, but it sounds like they're still working on/hoping to one day find a Manhattan location if they encounter another good venue. Alamo's Tim League explains to the Times:
"We were shovel-ready but we didn't lift the shovel," Mr. League said.
Mr. League estimated that his company had spent under $1 million on the project. "It's very difficult for me, personally," he said of the cancelled expansion. "We've invested a lot of time and money into it. This is a 20-year decision that we're making."
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has recently opened a new theater in Yonkers, N.Y., and begun construction on another site in downtown Brooklyn. Mr. League said his company had not yet identified a new location in Manhattan, adding, "If we find something that's easier and cheaper, we're interested."
Well, that's good to hear at least. But it doesn't sound like they have another spot in mind yet. For those in New York concerned, don't freak out too much. Not only do we have the new Yonkers location nearby, but the downtown Brooklyn spot is still in development and should be open by 2014. They add: "The New York City area expansion remains a priority for us in addition to the theaters currently under construction in San Francisco, Kalamazoo, MI and New Braunfels, TX." My hope is that we'll eventually be able to look back on this as just a bump in the road, a temporary delay in their plans to expand and takeover New York. I really, really want an Alamo Drafthouse in Manhattan. I'm sure Tim and company will find the right place one day.
I recently stopped by the Upper West's Metro Theater to snap a photo for my Instagram, which is where that header image comes from. Alas, that banner is probably removed with the location being scrapped. We'll keep you updated on their latest expansion plans and news about Alamo Drafthouse locations nationwide.