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The best idea you’ll hear for what to do with the Alabama Theater

How about turning it back into a movie theater? And not just any theater, either, but an Alamo Drafthouse theater. I wholeheartedly endorse the concept that ‘stina enunciates in her letter to the Alamo Drafthouse corporate office.

I don’t know anything about movie theaters or real estate, nor do I have any money. But the historic Alambama theater in Houston has recently been vacated by the 25 plus year tenent, and it seems like a perfect location for an Alamo Drafthouse similar to the one in downtown Austin. The theater dates back to the thirties, and it’s more or less been in use for most of its existence. Twenty five years ago, another Austin company, Bookstop, renovated the theater and turned it into a wonderful bookstore. The rows were turned into stacks of books; the stage, a magazine stand. There’s a lit up marquis on the front of the building, and the art deco decor still is on the walls. The screen and curtains still hang. After Barnes and Noble bought out Bookstop, a Starbucks went into the balcony. Sadly, Barnes and Noble recently built a larger store in a nearby location, and they closed Bookstop at the Alabama Theater on September 14.

I don’t know anything about the building’s cost or square footage or leasing requirements. I don’t know anything about your company and the way it expands. This theater seems different than the other franchise Alamo Drafthouse locations, aside from the original, as it’s a single screen well within the heart of a city. But the demographics of the neighborhood seem like they’d work. The theater is where River Oaks and Montrose and Midtown meet. There is a Landmark theater in the River Oaks Theater about a mile and a half away, and there is an Edwards Megaplex about two miles away on the freeway. But there is nothing like the Alamo Drafthouse anywhere nearby. River Oaks/Upper Kirby residents tend to be affluent and cultured. Montrose/Midtown/Heights residents tend to be ecclectic and progressive. Rice University is just down Shepherd 2 miles.

This weekend, a Buffy-Sing-a-Long was held in one of our public parks in downtown Houston (about 5 miles from the Alabama theater) and the response was overwhelming. The park was filled with happy Buffy fans popping poppers and telling Dawn to shut up. I don’t know the numbers, but it seemed that at least a thousand people were there.

I’m just a resident of Houston who is sad to see the Alabama theater empty. When chatting with my friends about the fact at the Buffy Sing-a-Long, we realized that the match up of the Alamo and the Alabama could be perfect. Should you have any Houston based investors/inquiries, maybe you would want to direct them to the Alabama?


Movie fan

I would love to see this happen. The main obstacle is likely to be parking, as the strip center the now-defunct BookStop is in doesn’t have an abundance of it. But surely something could be worked out. Please, Alamo Drafthouse, take a look at this. Thanks very much.

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  1. 'stina says:

    According to 29/95 there were 2400 of us at the Buffy sing-a-long on Saturday.

  2. laanba says:

    I would love to see this as well. It is such a beautiful space and deserves to have a marvelous third life.

  3. Cosme says:

    The University of St. Thomas is just a few blocks away as well…

  4. […] she notes, I passed along a suggestion to them from ’stina that I think would rock: Let the Alabama Theater become a […]

  5. Al says:

    I’m sorry, but the Alabama Theatre is just too small for an Alamo Drafthouse. ADs have 4 to 10 screens. Although it would be very different then their counterparts, IMO, it will not work. But the idea of having one near Downtown excites me.

  6. Chris says:

    Al, the flagship Alamo’s have one screen

  7. […] I certainly agree with the idea, which as far as I can tell was first expressed by ’stina last September. Nancy […]