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A rendering of the new ArcLight cinema complex proposed for the third floor of Santa Monica Place.
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
A rendering of the new ArcLight cinema complex proposed for the third floor of Santa Monica Place.

News, Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, Film

ArcLight Cinemas Seek Two Santa Monica Locations

A possible floor plan of the new ArcLight cinema complex.
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
A possible floor plan of the new ArcLight cinema complex.

Posted Apr. 21, 2014, 9:05 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

An iPic movie theater is almost complete in Westwood, yet Santa Monica has not seen a new cinema house built within its borders since the 1980s, let alone serve as home to a trendy multiplex brand such as iPic or ArcLight Cinemas.

Months after AMC backed out of building a brand new movie theater near the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica might actually end its run of no new cinema houses built in town in more than a generation with not one but two new ArcLight complexes coming to the downtown area.

The Santa Monica City Council will consider two action items at its Tuesday meeting with respect to ArcLight coming to town. One proposal is a development agreement (DA) to build a multi-screen movie theater operated by ArcLight on the third level of Santa Monica Place.

A second proposal seeks to have City Hall enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) to bring another ArcLight theater to a City-owned property at 1320 Fourth Street.

If the council approves both proposals, the ArcLight team could bring as many as 29 screens and up to 4,200 seats to the downtown Santa Monica area.

The proposed ArcLight Cinemas at Santa Monica Place would be built in a vacant space on the third level of the Bloomingdale’s building and boast 10 to 13 movie auditoriums. Its capacity would be about 1,500.

According to the City staff report, the height of the Bloomingdale’s building would be increased from its current 56 feet to somewhere between 78 and 84 feet. However, no additional floor area is proposed for Santa Monica Place’s ArcLight, City staff stated.

Proposed community benefits for the Santa Monica Place chapter of ArcLight Cinemas include funding for Esplanade development and downtown wayfinding, having three screens made available for the American Film Market (AFM), ensuring local hiring provisions for concessions and theater operations, and providing for a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program and sustainable design.

The Planning Commission recommended the ArcLight project at Santa Monica Place move forward to the council.

Over at 1320 Fourth Street, the council would not be approving a DA but instead allowing City staff to enter into negotiations ArcLight Cinemas and Macerich to bring a second ArcLight a short distance from Santa Monica Place.

If approved and ultimately built, the second ArcLight Cinemas on Fourth Street would be a pedestrian-oriented movie theater with street level access. Not exceeding the 84-foot height limit, the ArcLight at 1320 Fourth Street would feature more auditoriums and seats than the sister site at Santa Monica Place.

Specifically, the Fourth Street ArcLight proposes to feature 12 to 16 auditoriums and 2,400 to 2,700 seats. Beyond larger auditoriums and more seating than the Santa Monica Place cinema house, the Fourth Street ArcLight might also feature an IMAX-type theater.

If council members approve the ENA, City staff would enter into an exclusive negotiation period with ArcLight Cinemas and Macerich to come to terms and conditions of a ground lease.

“The ENA would establish a schedule of performance for the project team to develop a conceptual design, solicit community input, seek Council approval of design concept plans, negotiate terms for a development agreement, and complete environmental review of the project,” City staff stated.

Construction on the Fourth Street ArcLight could begin either in 2016 or 2017, depending upon council approvals and the entitlements process.

City staff pointed out movie-going attendance has dropped about 55 percent between the 1990s and 2012, compared to just 11 percent during the same period nationwide.

The declined continued from 2012 into 2013, when the closure of the Criterion Theater in March 2013 led to a 12.5 percent drop in movie-going attendance.

“With a full calendar year closure of the Criterion Theater, a further decline in local attendance is expected in 2014,” City staff stated.

The reported sharp decline in movie-going attendance is why City Hall is proposing having two ArcLight Cinemas built in downtown Santa Monica.

“While a new cinema has been proposed for the third floor of Santa Monica Place, such development, even if approved and built, would not satisfy even a portion of the demand for contemporary cinema experiences in the Downtown and in Santa Monica generally,” City staff stated.

Additional details as well as council and public commentary of both ArcLight proposals will be covered in the next issue of The Mirror.

Post a comment


Apr. 21, 2014, 12:26:31 pm

Erik said...

Just what people want to do when they come to visit a costal city - sit indoors, get fat and watch movies. Well done, City Council. When numbers decline at movie theaters, you build more than you need and when numbers increase at the Concerts On The Pier, you make the event smaller because YOU don't gain anything financially. Fuck off.

Apr. 21, 2014, 8:36:14 pm

Corrupt City said...

Now now Eric, it's obvious that Mayor O'Conner loves to sit indoors and eat. I didn't think 4 or 5 movie theaters on the Promenade was nearly enough but an Arc Light is pretty awesome. Wouldn't surprise me to learn they want to build it right at the end of the runway at the airport.

Apr. 22, 2014, 6:03:41 am

Oh dear said...

Only in Santa Monica do idiot residents complain about getting movie theaters. If most of these rent controlled losers had their way, the city would slowly decay into oblivion. Half the city live in delapidated 1950s apartments with no prayer of upgrade for the below market rents their 70-year old tenants cling too. The rest of us don't involve ourselves in politics because who has time to go to city hall to say "yes, I'd like movie theater." Utterly absurd that we even have to debate such a thing, but we must pacify the hoards of losers that demand a debate on even the simplest things with obvious community benefit. But then, the anti-development noise is all just code for "I don't like all these well-to-do folks buying condos where my loser friends crap apartment used to be"

Apr. 22, 2014, 12:39:11 pm

Norm said...

Spoken like a true middle management douche bag who pays 4 times as much for everything because his daddy got him a job at the firm. Enjoy your leased BMW 318. You'll be bankrupt by 40.

Apr. 22, 2014, 6:52:52 pm

Oh dear said...

No, seriously. We shouldn't have to debate MOVIE THEATERS. Or resort to describing the mayor as corrupt. Did you watch the open mic session the night city hall approved the Bermot Transit Village development? Total gooniesville. Sorry to break it you, I won't be bankrupt at 40. But the rent controlled loser across the street who told me I got "raped" when I bought my condo is days away from dying of cancer. All she does is sit out on her stoop smoking cigarettes. She is the poster child for the anti-development crowd. Imagine 60+, no life, no money, rent is $600/mo. On deaths door. Just wish she could make it to see me turn 40 and turn this condo for a sweet $300k profit. lol.

Apr. 22, 2014, 7:02:20 pm

Oh dear said...

By the way old man, BMW hasn't made a 318 in years.

Apr. 22, 2014, 8:13:47 pm

Kevin said...

Let's be civil. There's no reason to accuse someone of driving a 318i.

Apr. 23, 2014, 6:17:23 am

Beachside said...

I have to agree, the city would be better off without rent control. It really doesn't make sense that some of my neighbors have the same rent from 1979. There are times when I wonder if the place would be in better shape if the situation were different.

Apr. 24, 2014, 8:51:36 pm

Oh dear said...

I forgot to mention that my dad left me a large trust fund. I don't work but I sure know how to work it! So you losers can all suck it. I'm off to my pole dancing class now.

Apr. 25, 2014, 12:21:47 am

Norm said...

I didn't get a trust fund, so I demand city council vote me one. I got me a sweet 600 sqft 1950s rat shack for just $400/mo. I save money by not bathing. Sure, it's disgusting, but you can have my rent controlled apartment when you pry it from my cold dead hand....which is not far off, btw.

Apr. 25, 2014, 2:41:38 pm

Oh dear said...

Oh the world owes me a living Deedle dardle doodle deedle dum Oh the world owes me a living Deedle dardle doodle deedle dum If I worked hard all day I might Sleep badder when in bed at night I sleep all day so that's alright Deedle dardle doodle deedle dum

Apr. 26, 2014, 12:23:39 am

Norm said...

Oh the world owes me a free apartment. Of the world owes me a free apartment. Greedy landlords, don't they know? Apartments are just another utility! Oh, the world owes me a free apartmtment...near the beach, if you don't mind! And make sure there's not too much traffic. I gotta get to the chiropodist on Tuesdays!

May. 5, 2014, 1:47:32 pm

BRAD said...

Re: Rent Control. My mother was born and raised in Santa Monica. My parents raised us there. They never bought property so once we all left she had to remain a renter. If there was no rent control she couldn't have lived the rest of her life there. When I was growing up in the 60's and 70's Santa Monica was a nice place to live. It was a nice community. Now it is an over-priced dump for elitists and run by a city government who have no clue what the city should be.

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