Picture this: heading to downtown Hollywood, enjoying an espresso at an outdoor cafe, and then catching a foreign film.
That’s exactly what Hollywood city leaders are hoping to create, and they may even be willing to pick up the tab of a movie ticket for you.
On Wednesday, they’ll consider helping Cinema Paradiso, an art house movie theater that screens documentaries, foreign and independent films and retro movies, move into a downtown Hollywood location. And they’ll also talk about purchasing 3,000 tickets, at $10 a pop, to help make sure the theater thrives.
“It’s guaranteed sales,” said Gregory von Hausch, the theater’s executive director. “We definitely wouldn’t be able to do it without [the city’s] support.”
The theater currently operates from a spot near the Broward County Courthouse on Southeast Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale. But now, it wants to open a second location and is eyeing a 3,000-square-foot space at 2008 Hollywood Blvd.
“It’s more metropolitan,” said von Hausch, who said the downtown atmosphere lends itself to more dinner and movie options. “This will bring a whole new crowd.”
And city leaders say they think the movie theater is just what downtown needs.
“We think this will be a destination to draw people downtown,” said Jorge Camejo, director of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
The Hollywood building, which has been vacant for more than a year, once housed the I Am An Artist Café.
Cristina Moinelo, who owns CBA Reality and Management and brokered the deal, said she has been working with Cinema Paradiso for a while to get them to move in.
“We feel Cinema Paradiso will be a great addition to downtown,” said Moinelo, who will be at Wednesday’s meeting. “We are hoping the board will say yay and we are ready to go.”
If the board approves the deal, von Hausch said, they can get started immediately on retrofitting the building. He said it will take a little construction to create a ticket booth, concession stand, screen and other theater necessities, but the movie theater could be open within three months.
Vice Mayor Dick Blattner said Tuesday that a theater fits in perfectly with what the city is trying to create in its downtown.
“People will come downtown and eat, walk around,” he said. “This is the kind of activity we should have downtown.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, the CRA will discuss spending $30,000 a year for up to 10 years purchasing tickets, which would then be given for free to hotels along the beach to get more people downtown.
“Frankly, it just makes a lot of sense,” Camejo said, saying the city’s trolley system can usher beach tourists to downtown. “Somebody visiting may not otherwise go downtown.”
The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd.