You know that hole in the ground in the Railyard just south of Market Station? The one that's supposed to have been a movie theater by now? By Christmas 2014, that long-delayed plan will finally become a reality.
Yesterday, the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation awarded a contract to Austin, Texas-based Violet Crown Cinemas to build an 11-screen, 600 seat movie theater that will screen a mix of mainstream, independent and Spanish-language films.
The design, according to an SFRCC press release, will conform to the Railyard's original design. In it, SFCC Executive Director Richard Czoski notes that "it isn't anticipated" that Violet Crown Cinemas will have to get a variance from city or SFCC master plan building codes.
The movie theater will also feature a café facing the Railyard Plaza where moviegoers and non-moviegoers alike can eat food and drink wine and beer.
The project has been a long time coming. Before last summer, local developer Railyard Co. LLC owned the plot of land, which was never developed during the recession for a number of reasons. At the time, RyCo had accused the city of delaying its construction of the Railyard's underground parking lot. RyCo threatened a lawsuit, alleging the city had cost it more than $6 million.
Last summer, the city's purchase of 22,000 square feet of Market Station office space owned by RyCo cleared prevented any potential lawsuit from happening. Critics like City Councilor Patti Bushee dubbed the deal a bailout.
But the cinema parcel—ie the hole in the ground—came into the city's hands, allowing plans of a cinema to go forward.
Read SFRCC's press release below: