Next year will be the beginning of a new era, as the classic Midtown movie theater looks to build on its property near Speedway and Country Club.
Executive director Peggy Johnson explained the plans in an exclusive interview with KGUN 9. She says the Cinema plans to officially announce the plans sometime in November.
A new building will connect the existing main building and third screen building. The space between the buildings is currently empty, except for a few tables and chairs.
All new restrooms, all new concession stands. All new box office,” Johnson explained. “Larger space. Well have an elevator upstairs. And then upstairs were having a rooftop bar which we think people will enjoy. The biggest change will be the existing lobby and restrooms will be demolished and that will be made into a really nice lounge.
What we have now is not accessible. The restrooms arent accessible. The upstairs theater is not accessible. And the lobby is just way too small The line for concessions goes outside and down the side of the building.
The existing screens wont be changed, but there will be a new permanent outdoor screen with a seating area on artificial turf. The outdoor seats will be movable, and the outdoor screen will be visible from the rooftop bar.
The way that [the outdoor screen is] situated, itll always be shaded from the afternoon sun, said Johnson. We broadcast the sound for the film through an FM signal and people have headsets. So youre getting really good quality sound right next to your ear, with no Speedway traffic. And it doesnt bleed into the neighborhood, so we can have late movies.
Johnson says the budget for the transformation is $3 million dollars, with the non-profit theater still looking to raise more than a million of that money.
Luckily The Loft already has several supporters, some who have already donated thousands to the project.
Others are frequent customers who want to keep coming back for years to come.
You come here and you feel like youre part of the family, said actor Ray Huffman. Its old school. When I grew up, how the cinemas used to be.
I love The Loft, said Nancy Cyr, a longtime moviegoer. The Loft gives you different perspectives that are really timely and really sensitive.
Ive been volunteering here about seven years and its just a great gathering place for people who love films, added volunteer Nancy Huff.
The hope is for construction to start in March 2024 and last nine to 12 months.
The building isnt quite as the same level as the programming, said Johnson. So we need to bring the building up so that it matches more or less the quality of what were offering the community.