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Calgary's Downtown Dilemma

I haven't heard any rumors, but what is the likelihood that a new first run movie theater gets built downtown? I thought about this, as Eau Claire is done.

DT and Beltline will likely hit 60K population soon, so it could be supported. Add in Bridgeland and Kensington (close to train) as a bonus and it's getting to 70K I would imagine that most people in those communities have gone to other theaters that are nicer than Eau Claire has become for years. I know that living in Kensington, I rarely do Eau Claire and opt for a more modern facility.

A theater of 5 or so screens could bring 1000 people onto Stephen Ave almost every evening/night, creating a increased feeling of safety and also delivering more customers to bars and restaurants and making them viable into later evening instead of closing early.

I generally don't like government subsidies for private business, but given how much is being given out currently to revitalize DT, I feel like this could be a good "investment". We are dropping $150M to get an extra 2300 units and perhaps 3500 people downtown. On average, I suspect perhaps 600 of those people may be out providing street life in the evening and that's optimistic. If we offered say $5M to a theater company (Cineplex or Landmark) that could bring an extra 600 people, that seems like a good use of funds to me.
Personally, I like the Plaza Theatre in Kensington 😁
 
I haven't heard any rumors, but what is the likelihood that a new first run movie theater gets built downtown? I thought about this, as Eau Claire is done.

DT and Beltline will likely hit 60K population soon, so it could be supported. Add in Bridgeland and Kensington (close to train) as a bonus and it's getting to 70K I would imagine that most people in those communities have gone to other theaters that are nicer than Eau Claire has become for years. I know that living in Kensington, I rarely do Eau Claire and opt for a more modern facility.

A theater of 5 or so screens could bring 1000 people onto Stephen Ave almost every evening/night, creating a increased feeling of safety and also delivering more customers to bars and restaurants and making them viable into later evening instead of closing early.

I generally don't like government subsidies for private business, but given how much is being given out currently to revitalize DT, I feel like this could be a good "investment". We are dropping $150M to get an extra 2300 units and perhaps 3500 people downtown. On average, I suspect perhaps 600 of those people may be out providing street life in the evening and that's optimistic. If we offered say $5M to a theater company (Cineplex or Landmark) that could bring an extra 600 people, that seems like a good use of funds to me.

As a comparator, the Calgary Underground Film Fest just wrapped in late April and is based exclusively out of The Globe on Stephen Ave. They've had another banner year, on Instagram they are reporting 30% increase from previous records of ~11,500 attendees over 10 days of film (2 weekends and the week in-between).

During the festival, films showings and audiences are not uniformly distributed so Friday/Saturday/Sundays would have way more traffic. Best guess is The Globe is easily exceeding 1,000 people a day on the weekends of the festival - maybe double or triple that? CUFF does a bunch of one-off movies and a documentary festival throughout the rest of year that are well attended too.

So a festival vibe is a bit different - and CUFF is known to be one of the sharpest curated festivals around to are very successful in growing their audience through their skill at running a festival - but it is a useful example of how there's a sizeable demand for films and events downtown. The trick is the economics to build a new theatre complex being rough - likely will need to be part of a larger, mixed use redevelopment play.

But from an urban vibrancy perspective, dumping out 1,000+ extra people onto a downtown sidewalk per day is actually a huge draw. If you could create that repeatedly night-after-night, year-round it would be a huge asset - effectively creating a Ship and Anchor scale destination that sees hundreds of patrons daily rain or shine.

I would be shocked if some of the bars and restaurants around The Globe didn't notice an uptick in activity thanks to the film festival nearby.
 
CUFF should buy the Globe. Or have a donor buy it and lease it back, in a tax preferential relationship where everyone wins.
$2.4M is probably a lot for a festival that scale to afford, but really isn't a lot of money when infills are like $1 - 2M in many places. I assume high operating and maintenance costs must weigh on the property and future plans - it's one thing to run a festival, another to maintain a large building. Either way, seems suspiciously affordable?
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calg...tre-downtown-calgary-film-festivals-1.7192446
 
Let’s do a theatre roundup:
Palliser Square 2 —> Vertigo Theatre
Bankers Hall —> Data Centre
Watermark (might have been a data centre to begin with) —> paper record room (ComputerShare)
Imperial Oil 9 —> ? Food Court
Grand —> Grand (currently closed)
Palace —> Palace
Eau Claire 6 —> to be demolished
Towne 1 --> closed
Towne 2 --> Globe 2 —> survives for now
Barron/Uptown 1 --> 2 —> 1 --> demolished
Calgary Place 2 --> 3 --> Metropolitan Centre
Hitching Post --> Retail
Capitol --> Retail

Were there others?

So Eau Claire opens out competes the other theatres then shuts down itself. This might be leaving downtown with the fewest theatres in a century.
 
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Let’s do a theatre roundup:
Palliser Square —> Vertigo Theatre
Bankers Hall —> Data Centre
Watermark (might have been a data centre to begin with) —> paper record room (ComputerShare)
Imperial Oil —> ?
Grand —> Grand (currently closed)
Palace —> Palace
Eau Claire —> to be demolished
Globe —> survives for now
Barron/Uptown —> demolished

Were there others?

So Eau Claire opens out competes the other theatres then shuts down itself. This might be leaving downtown with the fewest theatres in a century.
I think the conference centre in Calgary Place used to be a theatre - Metropolitan Centre?
 
This is probably a long shot, as I doubt it would work structurally, but it looks like Brooks Brothers is done. That could be a great spot and could have a pretty awesome digital marquee on the curved glass corner of the building. The Cineplex VIP at University District is 22 500 Sq feet and has 5 screens.
 

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