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AMC Theatres closer to opening downtown Buffalo site

AMC Theatres is one step closer to opening downtown.

The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency has approved a land deposition agreement allowing the City of Buffalo to sell 639 Main St. to Benchmark Development for $250,000.

Benchmark will spend $5.8 million renovating the former Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre, which will become an AMC Theatres.

“It’s all part of our strategy to make Buffalo a more livable community,” said Mayor Byron Brown.

The theater is expected to open by April 2016. AMC wanted to build off the success of its theater in Amherst, and saw Main Street as a prime location, according to Brendan Mehaffy, CEO of the city’s strategic planning office. The Kansas-based company liked that it would be located on the site of an existing theater complex and that there was no competition in the surrounding downtown area. The closest movie theater is the Regal Elmwood Center 16 on Elmwood Avenue.

AMC will put $3.2 million toward digital projection, reclining seats and other amenities in all eight auditoriums. It employed the same concept at its Maple Ridge 8 cinema in Amherst, complete with an advanced seat reservation system, which resulted in increased ticket sales.

The city will increase its security presence once the theater is up and running.

“We understand fully that with the growth of Buffalo, we also have to increase the presence of police,” Brown said.

The theater is just south of and adjacent to the Bijou Grille. The building needs new mechanics, a new roof, as well as an updated vestibule and facade.

email:schristmann@buffnews.com