AMC Theater to Open Next Summer

Downtown theater returns to Market Arcade

Mike Baggerman
August 23, 2017 - 5:21 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Since 2015 the City of Buffalo began talks about returning a movie theater to the Market Arcade in Downtown Buffalo and on Wednesday the announcement was made official.

WATCH: Looking inside the Market Arcade theater

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced that The Benchmark Group and AMC have signed a long-term contract to bring a movie theater to Main Street. The two private companies will invest about $9 million to restore the site which was sold to the developer in February 2016.

"That deal has been signed and we are very pleased to thank The Benchmark Group and AMC for their confidence in the City of Buffalo and in Downtown Buffalo," Brown said. 

Construction of the theater is expected to begin at the end of this year or early next year while the theater is expected to be up-and-running to full operations by next summer. The Benchmark Group plans to update the entire building, including a new roof an maintenance work to the exterior. Inside the theater, new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems will be installed.

The 35,000 square-foot building will feature eight auditoriums. The original movie theater had nearly 2,000 seats in it, but AMC will be installing recliner seating which will reduce the seating capacity to approximately 671. The eight auditoriums will feature high-definition films, but no IMAX auditoriums.

Martin J. DelleBovi, the Executive Vice President of The Benchmark Group, said the number of recliners that will be installed fits the fire code. 

"You need additional space to be able to pass by the recliners," DelleBovi said.

Parking will be made available on Main Street while there will also be parking at the Washington Street parking lot located at the rear of the theatre.

When pressed, DelleBovi would not comment on how long the lease agreement was with AMC, but did say it was "much longer" than five years.

One of the most notable questions was what took so long? For almost three years, city officials said a new theater was coming soon.

"Nothing really transpired to stop the project at any point," DelleBovi said. "But we had a change of personnel. I had a person at AMC who was working this deal and was the first person to visit here. He left to go (somewhere else). I had to start with a new point-person at AMC. There's not a definite timeline on a deal like this. You'd like to think there is but there really isn't."

LISTEN: Full Press Conference with Mayor Brown and The Benchmark Group

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