Miami Beach

A branch of O Cinema may be coming to North Beach

Miami Beach may get an independent cinema for art and foreign films.

Commissioners recently agreed to work on an agreement with O Cinema to open a location in the Byron Carlyle Theater in North Beach.

Once an agreement is reached, the proposal needs to come back to the commission for final approval, which would also require the commission to waive competitive bidding, a public process by which other companies can offer suggestions for other terms and uses of the theater.

Elected officials touted O Cinema as a potential catalyst for redevelopment in North Beach, a neighborhood that has become a focus for the city.

“This is a great, hot, cool, hip, urban concept that is homegrown and different,” said Mayor Philip Levine.

O Cinema already runs theaters in Wynwood and Miami Shores. It started almost four years ago with a grant from the Knight Foundation.

“We’re about reinvigorating the cinema culture of the city, using film as way of educating, inspiring education and bringing the community together,” theater co-founder Kareem Tabsch said. “We think the community is ripe for this kind of entertainment.”

Commissioner Joy Malakoff said the business would bring life to the area.

“I think O Cinema would bring a great deal to North Beach, including foot traffic to restaurants and shops in that area. It brings, often, a younger clientele, which is good for business,” she said.

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