Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Details on Alamo Drafthouse Groundbreaking

Construction of Movie House May Take Less Than a Year

El Paso politicians and businesspersons alike attended a groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday for what will become the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater building at the future Montecillo Town Center on the city’s West Side. It will be the first building to break ground at the Town Center site.
An artist’s rendering of the Alamo Drafthouse theater building under construction in West El Paso. (Triple Tap Ventures)

The movie house will be situated in the upper area of the Town Center, with parking located behind the building and hidden from view. The theater will have eight screens with about 850 seats in total. The structure will be over 30,000 square feet in size, according to the Town Center site plan.

Alamo Drafthouse is known for serving restaurant food to patrons before and during the movie. Neil Michaelsen, Chief Executive Officer and President of Triple Tap Ventures, explained this to local film critic and historian Charles Horak in a recent interview with KTEP (ktep.org).
The Alamo Drafthouse theater building will be located in the upper area of the Montecillo Town Center. A groundbreaking was held last week for the eight screen movie house, which could open in early spring according to the theater’s developer. (Site Plan: www.montecillo.com)

“You sit down, there’s a table in front of you, and there’s a menu right underneath the table. In a very old-school format, you write your order on a piece of paper.”

Michaelsen also states that everything is made to order. There will also be 32 draft beers, nearly that amount of bottled beers, and a cocktail program that will produce “hand crafted, high quality” cocktails.

Along with showing new releases in the latest digital format, the new theater will also have a 35-millimeter reel-to-reel projector that can show classic films. Special showings of sing- and quote-alongs will also occur at the Montecillo location as they do in other Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the country.
A recent view of the Town Center site, looking to the west from above the construction zone.  The Venue apartment buildings can be seen across Mesa Street. (Courtesy ZTEX Construction)

And the chain’s famous near-zero tolerance policies will be alive and well at the El Paso location, meaning anyone talking or using a cell phone during a movie will first be warned to stop then be asked to leave if the behavior continues. In addition, anyone under 18 years old will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Triple Tap, the Houston-based company with development and franchise rights to Alamo Drafthouse locations in El Paso, expects to hire 175 staff members plus a team of 10 managers for the theater, many of which will help prepare and serve food to moviegoers.
Elected officials attend the Alamo Drafthouse groundbreaking ceremony last week. (facebook.com/AlamoEP)
According to Michaelsen, “heavy activity” at the construction site should begin by the end of June, with opening set for early 2015.

“We’re finalizing the schedule but we’re hoping for a first quarter spring opening next year.”

There is no word on construction schedules for any of the other buildings on the Montecillo Town Center site, and no other tenants have been announced.