Fresh off a deal to sell the Market Arcade to Sinatra & Co. Realty, the City is now looking for a buyer for the cinema complex.
The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency is seeking proposals that continue the operation as a cinema and to continue local programming and film festivals such as the Buffalo Film Seminars, Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, WNY Black Film Fest and live theater performances. For the balance of the space, restaurant, retail, office, residential and arts/cultural uses are desirable. Preference shall be given to those proposals that (1) create and maintain an exciting, active atmosphere and will make an attractive destination, (2) enhance and complement existing and planned attractions of the Theatre District, (3) encourage daily patronage, and/or (4) generate economic development benefits.
General Cinema Theaters operated the heavily-subsidized eight-screen complex when it opened in 1987. It was General Cinema’s first new downtown theater in over a decade and ranked in the top 50 out of its 350 complexes shortly after opening. But after a strong opening, and attendance dwindling, General Cinema did not renew its lease and pulled out in 1998.
After a short stint with the Angelika Film Center, Dipson Theatres was brought on in 2000. Today, the complex is in need of significant capital upgrades such as new digital projectors.
The Market Arcade Cinema Complex consists of three components located at 639 Main Street, 643 Main Street, and 628 Washington Street. The cinemas at 639 Main Street include eight auditoriums with 1,842 seats in 33,000 sq.ft. of space. The not-for-profit Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre has a month-to-month lease on the complex and has a management agreement with Dipson Theaters.
Also included in the sale is the two-story building housing Bijou Grill at 643 Main Street and a commercial building at 628 Washington Street anchored by Via Evaluation Inc (right).
There is no parking available on the site. A current arrangement between the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center and M & T Bank allows Market Arcade theatre patrons to park free Monday through Friday after 4:00 p.m. and all day and evenings on weekends and holidays.
Letters of interest from prospective buyers are due to the City by May 9. Full proposals must be submitted by June 20.