August 23 - Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined with The Benchmark Group to announce a long-term lease agreement has been reached to locate a state-of-the-art AMC Theatre in downtown Buffalo’s Market Arcade complex. The AMC Market Arcade 8 will be located in renovated space which was previously home to the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre, located at 639 Main St., which closed in June 2014.
“This will be a completely new movie complex. This theater will make downtown Buffalo and the City of Buffalo an even more attractive destination for people living in the city, and throughout the region,” Mayor Brown said. “It will add more excitement to the Theatre District, and attract more patrons for our other downtown businesses.”
The Mayor applauded The Benchmark Group and AMC Theatres for negotiating a long-term lease which will result in a $9 million investment in the downtown site.
“When The Benchmark Group began talks with AMC in 2014 about a downtown theater, I had faith this day would come. Both Benchmark and AMC worked through some unforeseen circumstances in the negotiation process, but I’m pleased both parties stuck with it to reach a deal that’s a big win for the City of Buffalo,” Mayor Brown said.
The 35,000-square-foot building will feature eight auditoriums with more than 650 comfortable AMC Signature recliners. The theater will feature reserved seating and ticketless entry, the latest in sight and sound technology, Coca-Cola Freestyle, and AMC Feature Fare, an expanded menu far beyond the traditional movie theatre fare.
Movie-goers will also be greeted by a refurbished main entrance off Main Street and new signage. Martin J. DelleBovi, Executive Vice President, The Benchmark Group, said the new theater will raise the bar on the local movie-going experience.
“We wanted this to be something special and AMC wanted to include all their latest features, so this is going to be a wonderful addition to Buffalo’s downtown entertainment menu,” DelleBovi said, noting that Buffalo’s strong economy, robust image and successful Theatre District are playing starring roles in Benchmark’s and AMC’s decisions to invest downtown.
“The increased vibrancy of downtown Buffalo is what closed this deal. There’s no question this is the right time for this project,” DelleBovi added.
“We know movie-goers in downtown Buffalo have been waiting a long time for a theatre to deliver an amazing theatrical experience, and we are so excited to announce that AMC Theatres and our incredibly popular AMC Signature recliners will be available at AMC Market Arcade 8 for the summer movie-going season in 2018,” said Mark McDonald, Executive Vice President, Development, AMC Theatres.
Benchmark will begin the project with updates to the entire building, including a new roof and extensive maintenance work to the exterior. Inside, the project will include all new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. That work will start this fall.
When those upgrades and repairs are complete, AMC will undertake ambitious interior changes. In addition to the state-of-the-art movie-viewing enhancements, the AMC Market Arcade 8 will also incorporate new design elements to the theatre, including reconfigured lobby and concessions areas. Restrooms will be remodeled, with fresh finishes and new carpet throughout the building.
M&T Bank will be offering convenient, low cost parking for movie-goers in its Washington Street parking lot, at the rear of the theater as they have done over the past 20 years.
“M&T is pleased to see the return of movie screens to downtown and to have had the opportunity to play a couple of roles in getting the deal done. This is the sort of attraction that will draw Western New Yorkers to our entertainment and theatre districts, putting patrons not only in the theatre, but also into nearby shops and restaurants. It is another significant waypoint in downtown’s rebirth.” said Keith Belanger, M&T Bank Senior Vice President and longtime Chairman of Buffalo Place, the downtown business improvement district.
The Benchmark Group purchased the theater site, along with two other City-owned buildings at 643 Main St. and 628 Washington St. for $250,000 in 2016. Now that the AMC deal is complete, the developer will focus on long term commitments for the balance of the project.