Public Comments on Thursday, Public Hearing on June 29

The New Canaan Town Council will host a public comment session on Thursday, June 23rd at 7 PM, Town Hall Meeting Room and via zoom, in order to allow for comments on a proposal to reopen the New Canaan Playhouse.

The Town Council will also host a Public Hearing on Wednesday, June 29th, at 7 PM in the Town Hall Meeting Room at 77 Main Street and via Zoom.

Both meetings will be posted on the Town of New Canaan website, www.newcanaan.info, with zoom links and meeting notices.

Cinema Lab, a New Jersey-based movie theater development and management company focused on community-vital cinemas, has proposed to add the New Canaan Playhouse as one of a series of theaters around the country that will be renovated to offer a technology-forward, ecologically-conscious movie theater showing first-run movies that will lead the way in hospitality, programming, presentation and design. Cinema Lab currently has cinemas in The Village at SOPAC in South Orange and The Bradley at Bradley Beach, New Jersey and The Canon in Canon City, Colorado.

The proposal includes renovating the exterior and interior of the Playhouse in order to meet current ADA regulations and building codes as well as transformation of the auditorium. The project design will be dedicated to preserving the historical significance and charm of the original building by the architectural design of the fa leavingçade and the marquee and highlighting the street front windows intact as an enticing view into a new cinematic experience. The interior renovations would include the addition of a bar that would serve alcoholic beverages, a concession grab-and-go café, re-imagined auditorium seating with plush chairs and a table to support elevated drinks and local fare.

The second floor will be a member’s only lounge and event space for private parties, film premiers and get togethers. Membership will be open to all with a monthly membership fee.

The Cinema Lab team consists of Luke Parker Bowles; CEO, an award winning film and movie producer and industry veteran, Andy Childs; CFO, former North American CFO of hotel and private club operator Soho House, Brandon Jones; CMO, President of FILMFROG marketing, an outsourced marketing agency and 8 years as head of marketing and director of sales for Studio Movie Grill, the pioneer of in theater dining, Patrick Wilson; Head of Experience, a critically acclaimed actor, director with Tony, Emmy and Gold Globe nominations as well as others. Cinema Lab is an entrepreneurial group that is in the process of assembling a group of local investors in support of the project.

Town funding for the proposed project would consist of $600K of American Relief Act Funds, $1MM of Bonded Capital and the use of a $750K transfer from the Movie Theater Fund which has accrued over decades of rent collection by tenants of the building. Cinema Lab would also be contributing $1.5MM of funds to cover the costs of the interior renovation.

The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have approved the funding requests.

The Town Council will take public comment on June 23, 2022 and then hold a Public Hearing and Special Meeting on June 29, 2022 at which time the Town Council will vote on the approval of the lease and the funding.

If approved, the Grand Opening of the new theater is estimated to be in the Spring of 2023 which is the 100th Anniversary of the building of the Playhouse.

The New Canaan Town Council will host a public comment session on Thursday, June 23rd at 7 PM, Town Hall Meeting Room and via zoom, in order to allow for comments on a proposal to reopen the New Canaan Playhouse. The Town Council will also host a Public Hearing on Wednesday, June 29th, at 7 PM in the Town Hall Meeting Room at 77 Main Street and via Zoom. Both meetings will be posted on the Town of New Canaan website, www.newcanaan.info, with zoom links and meeting notices.

Cinema Lab, a New Jersey based movie theater development and management company focused on community-vital cinemas, has proposed to add the New Canaan Playhouse as one of a series of theaters around the country that will be renovated to offer a technology-forward, ecologically -conscious movie theater showing first run movies that will lead the way in hospitality, programming, presentation and design. Cinema Lab currently has cinemas in The Village at SOPAC in South Orange and The Bradley at Bradley Beach, New Jersey and The Canon in Canon City, Colorado.

The proposal includes renovating the exterior and interior of the Playhouse in order to meet current ADA regulations and building codes as well as transformation of the auditorium. The project design will be dedicated to preserving the historical significance and charm of the original building by the architectural design of the fa leavingçade and the marquee and highlighting the street front windows intact as an enticing view into a new cinematic experience. The interior renovations would include the addition of a bar that would serve alcoholic beverages, a concession grab and go café, re-imagined auditorium with plush chairs and a table to support elevated drinks and local fare.

The second floor will be a member’s only lounge and event space for private parties, film premiers and get togethers. Membership will be open to all with a monthly membership fee.

The Cinema Lab team consists of Luke Parker Bowles; CEO, an award winning film and movie producer and industry veteran, Andy Childs; CFO, former North American CFO of hotel and private club operator Soho House, Brandon Jones; CMO, President of FILMFROG marketing, an outsourced marketing agency and 8 years as head of marketing and director of sales for Studio Movie Grill, the pioneer of in theater dining, Patrick Wilson; Head of Experience, a critically acclaimed actor, director with Tony, Emmy and Gold Globe nominations as well as others. Cinema Lab is an entrepreneurial group that is in the process of assembling a group of local investors in support of the project.

Town funding for the proposed project would consist of $600K of American Relief Act Funds, $1MM of Bonded Capital and the use of a $750K transfer from the Movie Theater Fund which has accrued over decades of rent collection by tenants of the building. Cinema Lab would also be contributing $1.5MM of funds to cover the costs of the interior renovation.

The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have approved the funding requests. The Town Council will take public comment on June 23, 2022 and then hold a Public Hearing and Special Meeting on June 29, 2022 at which time the Town Council will vote on the approval of the lease and the funding.

If approved, the Grand Opening of the new theater estimated to be in the Spring of 2023 which is the 100th Anniversary of the building of the Playhouse.

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