Major Blow Dealt to Metro Theater Revival

Metro Theater Going Retail

Photo by Enniferj via Wikimedia Commons

Plans to revitalize and reopen the Metro Theater at 2626 Broadway (between 99th and 100th streets) have stalled, we learned from a post by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. The iconic art-deco style building that received landmark status in 1989 has been shuttered since 2006.

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“The deal to bring back the long vacant Metro as a boutique movie theater has fallen through, due to bankruptcy of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain,” Levine wrote on Threads. “It’s back to the drawing board yet again. I will continue to fight hard to bring this gem back as a cultural venue.”

The news comes as Deadline reports that Alamo Drafthouse, a nationwide chain that pairs premium food and drink with a cinematic experience at its more than 25 locations, is up for sale. The Texas-based brand had plans to renovate and reopen the Metro Theater, having presented those plans at a Community Board 7 meeting as recently as September 2022.

According to Deadline, Alamo Drafthouse filed for bankruptcy in 2021 following pandemic-related struggles that plagued the theater industry. A sale to Altamont Capital Partners kept the chain afloat and led to five new locations. Patch reports that the Metro Theater received approval for a number of updates in August 2023, including an elevator pit and facade repairs. The theater’s longtime owner, Albert Bialek, passed away in November 2023, which further delayed and complicated plans for reopening.

A post shared Friday on the “New Friends of Metro Theater” Facebook group says:

“Our New Friends of Metro Theater Board is disappointed but undaunted by this news. We remain committed to the reopening of our beloved Metro Theater as a film and community space for our neighborhood. We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to light up this iconic location.”

“Communities are defined by their culture,” Friends of Metro Theater’s website reads. “It is critical to provide a thriving locale that promotes cohesive, respectful, and joyful gathering. The Metro Theatre can be that place.”


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