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Benchmark Selected To Develop The Market Arcade Cinema Complex
Mayor Brown applauds the nearly $9 million renovation that is expected to bring one of the largest theater chains in the United States to downtown Buffalo, along with digital format screens, luxury seating and new jobs
September 11, 2014 – Mayor Byron Brown was pleased to announce today the selection of The Benchmark Group as the designated developer of the Market Arcade Cinema Complex. He also provided an update on Benchmark’s plan to bring AMC, one of the largest theater chains in the country, to Buffalo - along with eight screens updated to digital format for first run movies, luxury seating and more. The project also calls additional improvements, including updates to theater amenities, office space and theater facades, for a total estimated project cost of nearly $9 million.
“This theater will be the ‘best of the best’ and fits in perfectly with my vision to create a 24/7 live, work and play environment in downtown Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown, noting that today’s announcement fits in nicely with his goal of creating 1,300 new housing units downtown by 2018 to entice more people to live and purchase property in Buffalo. “I want to thank Benchmark for putting before us a remarkable proposal that will add to the momentum on the newly developed 600 Block of Main Street and bring tremendous economic impact to the community.”
“We are proud to be named the designated developer of the Market Arcade Cinema Complex,” said Steven J. Longo, Chief Operating Officer of The Benchmark Group. “This project will further enhance the current development on downtown Main Street and in the process create a destination attraction to draw hundreds of thousands of people to Buffalo.”
Since 2012, Buffalo has experienced over $4.5 billion in new economic development activity, providing the opportunity for the City and the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) –which has subsidized the Market Arcade’s operation since 1991 with an initial investment of $4.5 million and an average yearly subsidy of $50,000 - to transition the property back to private ownership. Three development proposals were submitted after Mayor Brown and BURA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in March 2014, encouraging developers to put forth their best ideas to create something great for the Market Arcade Cinema Complex. The Benchmark Group, Signature and Nidus Development and Sinatra & Co. submitted proposals.
When all the factors were added up, The Benchmark Group’s development proposal gained favor and agreed to the following terms:
The Market Arcade Cinema Complex consists of three components: 639 Main Street, 643 Main Street, and 628 Washington Street. It’s located in the heart of Buffalo’s Theatre District, home to a diverse collection of theatres that include the historic Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
Today’s announcement also coincides with the nearly completed $8 million redevelopment of the 600 Block of Main Street as part of Mayor Brown’s goal to return two-way vehicular traffic to a 10 block stretch of downtown Main Street. The Benchmark Group plans to start renovations to non-theater space by spring 2015. It is anticipated that AMC would begin upgrades to the theater in January 2016.
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios