City pins hopes on cinema project

posted by danpetitpas on November 4, 2008 at 3:46 pm

PITTSFIELD, MA — The city has broken ground on the $13 million Beacon Cinema Project in an attempt to revitalize the downtown business area.

The historic 90-year-old Kinnell-Kresge building will be converted into a six-screen cinema, with retail space, restaurants and offices.

The project is a combination of public and private investment and backing from state and local government.

The city expects the theater to draw close to 200,000 people to the downtown area and create 60+ jobs. The project has been on the drawing boards since 1998.

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Comments (6)

markp on November 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm

I wish them well. It would be nice to see these downtowns revived. I wish someone would build a small theatre complex in my downtown of Woodbridge, N.J. which has not had a movie theatre since 1971, when the State Theatre closed.

CinemarkFan on November 4, 2008 at 8:31 pm

What are the closest theaters to Woodbridge?

markp on November 5, 2008 at 3:57 am

The closest one is about 5 to 6 miles away, the AMC Menlo Park 12, and about 12 miles the other direction, the AMC Aviation 12. Menlo is about 17 years old, non-stadium, Aviation is about 2 years old, all stadium. There was a time, when I was a kid, that the Township of Woodbridge, ( 9 districts in all ) had the State in Woodbridge, the Fords Playhouse in Fords and the Iselin Theatre in Iselin, all about 3 miles apart from each other. Later on, Walter Reade built the Woodbridge Theatre, and National General built the Fox Theatre. We really had our choices during the late 60’s and early 70’s.

CinemarkFan on November 5, 2008 at 4:55 am

If I’m successful, then I will look into Woodbridge.


markp on November 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Thank You, it would definitly be refreshing to have a downtown movie complex again.

danpetitpas on November 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm

A couple of years ago Pittsfield thought the $22 million restoration of the legit Colonial Theater was going to revive downtown. On top of this is that there’s very little parking downtown and no public transportation. Plus the city’s population has been declining as GE has gradually closed down most of its operations.

I hate to say it, but I’ve come across dozens of stories in the last few months where small old cities and towns are hoping the reopening of a theater is going to revive their downtown areas, and in most cases, the theaters close within a year and the downtowns continue to decline. There are very few examples where this actually works.

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