Grub Street brings us the best news we've heard all year:
Alas, we're finally getting word of developer and Medjool owner Gus Murad's plans for the historic New Mission Theater, via the Historic Preservation Commission's agenda for this week. The main item up for discussion at tomorrow's meeting — besides the fight to get some sort of landmark designation for endangered Gold Dust Lounge — is a proposal to convert the single-screen cinema to a five-screen one, with Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema as the operator. With locations already in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Denver, and D.C., Alamo has been voted the number-one movie theater in the country by Entertainment Weekly, largely due to their beer and food service, and their policy against playing advertisements before shows.
The proposal calls for the first-floor projection room to become a bar, with the main auditorium space getting restored as a large screening room. Additionally, there would be four more auditoriums built into what was the lower and upper balconies of the theater. Also, obviously, they would restore the iconic, Art Deco, 70-foot neon sign on Mission Street.
As Grub Street goes on to point out, Murad has not had the easiest time getting projects through the city in the past (there was that two year long fight about the Medjool roof deck, and the Historic Preservation Commission hasn't been that receptive to remodeling New Mission in the past). And it was only a year ago that it was rumored a bowling alley would move in to New Mission, only for that project to go nowhere. But let's hope this all works out, because even an 'independent' chain that wants to bring us beer, food, and cinema without making us go to the Fillmore would be welcome… so long as it doesn't drive The Roxie out of business.