Comfy seats, a place to sip wine or beer and a setup that can accomodate film festivals are among the top features planners are working into the new Sundance Cinemas.
Sundance gave locals a peek at their plans for the former space and asked residents for their support in applying for a beer and wine permit from the city.
The Hollywood Hills West Area 7 Committee voted Wednesday to support the sale of beer and wine at the theater located on Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards. Six people voted in favor of the measure.
“It’s going to be terrific when it’s finished,” said Barbara Witkin, the Hollywood Hills West Area 7 Chair.
The new theater will have five screens, reserved stadium seating and fewer seats to allow for more comfortable seating, said Tina Choi-Nelson, a partner at Englander, Knabe and Allen, a government relations and communications firm.
Sundance will pare down seats in the theaters from a total of 1,000 seats to 682.
“We’re bringing the venue up to current standards,” Choi-Nelson said. “This will be the first venue in L.A., so we’re excited for the community to collaborate with us.”
There are three Sundance Cinemas across the country in San Francsico, Madison, Wisconsin and Houston, Texas.
Sundance aims to appeal to adults and doesn’t foresee any problems with the sale of alcohol.
“We have a self-selecting audience,” said Paul Richardson, president and CEO of Sundance Cinemas. “We just don’t appeal to teenagers.”
Richardson pointed out there will be three checkpoints where customers may be carded, which will make it easier to prevent underage drinking.
The theater will also serve as an ideal venue for lectures, film festivals, receptions and programs sponsored by the Sundance Institute, Richardson said. There are plans to incorporate the patio area in front of the theater and possibly allow people to take their drinks in and out of the theater.
“Our goal is to be a neighborhood art theater,” Richardson said. “I’m just excited for us to be open as soon as possible.”
The theater complex is expected to be open from 10 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and will close by 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There will also be “higher-end noshes” on the menu consisting of food that is "easy to eat while watching a movie," Choi-Nelson said.
A public hearing for the plan is scheduled for the end of April, Choi-Nelson said. Richardson hopes to open Sundance Cinemas by June although no firm date has yet been set.