Santa Monica Lookout
|Macerich Taps ArcLight Cinemas for New Theaters in Santa Monica Place|
By Jason Islas
January 15, 2014 -- ArcLight Cinemas will run the bayside city’s first new movie theater in more than 20 years, according to Santa Monica Place-owner Macerich.
Even though the theaters will occupy about 50,000 square feet of empty retail space on the Santa Monica Place’s third floor, Macerich and ArcLight will have to seek City Council approval because the height of the building has to be increased to accommodate the movie screens.
That means it could be months before construction could begin, even though the Council recently voted to let Macerich skip the “float-up” process, during which developers seek informal feedback from the Planning Commission before seeking official approval of their plans.
Without the float-up process, City officials estimate that the project could go before the Planning Commission in March and the City Council for final approval in April. (“City Council Expedites Santa Monica Place Theater Project,” December 19, 2013)
This will likely be welcome news to organizers of the American Film Market (AFM), the annual independent film tradeshow that brings thousands to the bayside city every fall.
AFM organizers agreed in 2011 to stay in Santa Monica, where the tradeshow has been held since 1991, through 2017 partly because of the promise of future, modern venues to screen films and host events. (“Santa Monica Working to Keep American Film Market in Town,” November 7, 2013”)
Since the agreement, however, the AMC 6 Criterion was shuttered, plans for an ultra-modern cinema complex in Downtown fell through and the City lost funding for a planned $55 million overhaul of its 3,000-seat Civic Auditorium.
Santa Monica stakeholders agree that the bayside city, which draws thousands of people from all over the world to its downtown every weekend, needs a new movie theater.
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