Monday, September 17, 2012

Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Makes the Wall Street Journal

Earlier this year, I read about the Alamo Drafthouse taking over the New Mission Theater.  I hadn't heard much about the project and it had slipped my mind.  I was surprised to read about the project in the Wall Street Journal recently.

I noticed a few changes from a February report in Mission Local.  The size has been scaled down.  MissionLoc reported 5 screens that would "accommodate about 900 people."  The WSJ reports "The five-screen venue will have a total of 556 seats."  Approximately 300 or a third of the seats have been lost in the past 7 months.  I'm not sure if that represents lowered attendance estimates.

Also new is a target date.  The WSJ reports "Mr. League [founder and chief executive of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema] says he is targeting the end of 2013 for completion."  I'm not sure about that.  It is reported that the project is scheduled for a hearing at the Historic Preservation Commission on December 5, 2012.  If Alamo and Commission had everything lined up before the meeting, I could believe they would finish construction by the end of 2013.

However, Alamo has semi-partnered with Oyster Development Corp.  Oyster wants to develop a 114 unit condo next door to the New Mission.   According to the WSJ, "As part of its plans, Oyster would contribute $1 million toward the restoration of the New Mission theater, $750,000 in grants to 15 neighborhood community groups and give the city some land in the neighborhood for affordable housing."

In a place like the Mission District, in a city like San Francisco, I don't know if Oyster's involvement helps or hinders the Alamo project.  Oyster acquired the property in March 2011 and has not been able to develop it yet.  That's 18 months Oyster has sat on the property which may indicate Oyster has had trouble getting through the planning and permitting process.

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