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Empress Theatre
Borough prefers Cinema NDG project
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 6 septembre 2012

Elaine Ethier’s Cinema NDG project was selected by the evaluation committee as the best by far of the three submissions.

It proposes establishing a repertoire and independent film house along with a restaurant in the now-abandoned historic building on 5560 Sherbrooke West.

She was hoping to get a green light from the borough council. The dossier is on the agenda for the September 5th borough council meeting. “Once the mandate is there,” she says, “we will be able to develop the project further.”

Right now, Ethier says, 40% of the project’s proposed $12-million budget has been secured from private sources. The Cinema NDG plan includes four cinema screens with a total capacity of 500 seats.

A restaurant would open on the main floor of the neo-Egyptian style theatre, considered a heritage site.

Modeled after the Cinema Beaubien format in Rosemont, Ethier says the film content would be adapted to west-end audiences. “We will show quality first-run independent films and documentaries but no blockbusters,” she says.

Digital technology would be used to allow the screenings of movies in French, English and their original foreign languages. If the project is approved soon, it would take approximately a year of construction before the old Empress Theatre would reopen in December 2013.

[ Gerri Barrer ]

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