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Roll ‘em! New moviehouse slated for film starved Williamsburg

The Brooklyn Paper

Williamsburg residents won’t have to take the L train to Union Square to catch the latest blockbuster.

Developer Blue Zees Real Estate has joined forces with the owner of the Cobble Hill Cinema to move forward on a $9.3-million moviehouse on a vacant lot at the corner Driggs Avenue and Grand Street with seven screens and 900 stadium seats.

The three-story theater will show first-run feature films, and should be completed by next fall.

The company bought the $3-million site in May, but has begun notifying nearby movie theaters of its plans this month. Calls made to the development company were not returned.

The theater is the third movie house planned for the neighborhood and Williamsburg’s first multi-screen theater since the iconic Commodore was closed and subsequently demolished in 2002.

In June, the 93-seat IndieScreen Cinema opened on Kent Avenue at Metropolitan Avenue just in time to host the Brooklyn International Film Festival.

And the closely tracked nearly built Cassandra Cinema occupying the first floor of a condo building on Metropolitan Avenue at Kent Avenue was poised to make its dramatic debut this fall, but its owners sold the condo to another developer and it won’t open until 2011.

Anticipation for new movie theaters in Williamsburg has been feverish but several Grand Street residents said that they were fed up with late-night noise from new bars between Grand Street and Metropolitan Avenue.

But Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis said that the neighborhood would likely welcome the project because Williamsburg was “starved” for a movie theater. And Margaret Kozlowska of Margo’s Patisserie Café on Driggs Avenue supports it for obvious reasons.

“A movie theater on that corner is better than an empty lot,” said Kozlowska. “And maybe [filmgoers] could come here for a coffee or a snack.”

Alyssa Key of the clothing store Love Brigade agrees, saying that the theater will be a “great addition” to Grand Street.

“It will bring not only foot traffic to a street filled with cool shops and bars, but also excitement and great energy,” said Key. “My only concern would be that Grand would convert to metered street parking.”

Updated 11:45 am, December 20, 2010: Includes reference to Cobble Hill Cinema and seven screens instead of six.
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Reader Feedback

Louis from Williamsburg says:
MUCH NEEDED ADDITION!! Glad they won't be playing the crap that other theaters play.
Dec. 14, 2010, 4:34 pm
Chris Henderson from Bushwick says:
This is great news!

I wholeheartedly support this project, as we do need a dedicated house in North Brooklyn that shows first-run fare. However, to say that Williamsburg is film-starved is to neglect the work of UnionDocs, Rooftop Films, OSA, L Magazine, the FilmShop, Moviehouse and others have been doing for the last few years.
Dec. 14, 2010, 6:22 pm
Mimi & Rudy from Williamsburg says:
Fantastic!!! Its about time to have a movie house in WB, especially on that corner where there is a hole in the grand st. retail corridor. It will be a new center of attraction and connect bedford to roebling and the southside to northside. Can't wait. We'll be there opening night!!!
Dec. 14, 2010, 11:50 pm
Ward from Williamsburg says:
I don't remember saying "starved" (I guess I must have), but Chris is right - it would be nice to have a local theater for first-run films, but we have a lot of cinematic offerings already.
Dec. 14, 2010, 11:53 pm
MJ from SouthSide, Driggs Ave says:
This is wonderful...it's been a long time coming ever since the Coomodore shut down ....:)
Dec. 15, 2010, 9:03 am
HANK from GREENPOINT says:
I guess Greenpoint will have to wait for a movie house as we seem to be second best. We had about five movies but they were taken down. I guess I will have to check the TV listings again.
Dec. 15, 2010, 4:25 pm
Karen from Williamsburg says:
It would be wonderful!! Just hope it will be affordable for families!! Since the closing of the Commodore and the Chopin families have to go out of the Community which stinks!! This would be great!!
Dec. 15, 2010, 7:28 pm
Virginia from Williamsburg says:
Hooray! I can't wait to go to the movies in Williamsburg!
Dec. 15, 2010, 8:52 pm
the_new_WB_stinks says:
so seriously is this going to be another artsy fartsy "theatre" or will it show REAL blockbuster movies made by studios and not some wannabe with just one camera????? United Artist? Clearview??? Pls some where I can take my 2 y/o to watch a family movie!
Dec. 16, 2010, 5:30 pm
Mochalove from Williamsburg says:
These hipsters & their wannabe artsyways are a cancer to the neighborhood. We don't need a theatre but a place for kids to enjoy especially the winter months. Instead they built bike lanes which are danger to drivers (half the time they don't obey traffic laws) & bars that attract not only the drinkers but users of drugs as well. This place is no longer kid friendly or family friendly any more.
Dec. 16, 2010, 6:05 pm
Ward from Williamsburg says:
Read the article - first-run feature films.

Mocha - you're right, half the time drivers don't obey traffic laws!
Dec. 16, 2010, 10:38 pm
Jon from Bushwick says:
Mocha is right...I can't remember the last time I saw a bicyclist stop at a stop sign. As a biker myself, I think it's out of control.

But as far as the theater is concerned, how about giving it a little class. Brick walls and some of the original Brooklyn style. Why does every new project these days need to have glass walls and chrome all over it?
Dec. 20, 2010, 12:17 pm
Robert from Bed-Stuy says:
The theatre will be a welcome addition instead of taking the train to Manhattan and paying too much for a flick.

There should also be matinees like back in the day and I agree that this movie theater should reflect a classic Brooklyn style type architecture that's magnificent and gorgeous instead of something out of Tron or some science-fiction film.

The Williamsburg residents should have a say in the design of the theater in public meetings since it will be built in their backyard.
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:40 am
joe from williamsburg says:
well clearly it'll be all glass and chrome and will be an eye-sore. I hope it even comes pre-installed with bed bugs already living on each seat.
Dec. 30, 2010, 5:28 pm
Borniwilliamsburgin77 from Williamsburg says:
I hope it will be a real movie house not a hipster she, she foo-foo artistic play house lol... I hope it's something for us the last of the original Williamsburg people that actually remb what it was to have commodore theater growing up, or an actual book store on grand street , and a fish market & no crappy bike lines and a million bar/dives and a million
coffee shops.... I hope this is a place were the last of the Williamsburg people can go & have a good time & bring their families & not pay manhattan prices.... & have it feel as Williamsburg use to feel before the invasion of the wanna be" cools "
Jan. 25, 2011, 3:24 am
Ken from Southside says:
I hope this is not another theater in which they show 70's flicks and foreign old movies. Please show some great blockbusters
Oct. 10, 2012, 12:29 am
Ashly from Williamsburg says:
I love how Williamsburg is having a movie theatre. Gives us cheap and lazy people less money to spend on transportation. A great addition to the growing community. But, on the other hand it seems as if Williamsburg is becoming the new manhattan. Before no one would take a look at this area because Brooklyn at times seems so looked down upon. Williamsburg has so much history but it's crap now thanks to all these hipsters. Also, there are becoming few Hispanics now because the more booming that Williamsburg becomes, the more expensive it is as well. Don't get me wrong, I love a diverse area but let's be real, most people don't understand other cultures and that becomes a problem.
Nov. 21, 2012, 1:06 pm

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