Ever since it was announced in January 2013 that the City's Planning Commission had approved a $10 million renovation of the long-dormant, 2021-seat New Mission Theater at 2250 Mission, the project has been equal parts exciting and enigmatic. Exciting because the new tenant was going to be the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, promising to bring five new movie screens to town -- and enigmatic because in September 2013 their Facebook and Twitter presences stopped being updated, and there didn't appear to be any actual work done on the theater, in spite of the fact that the their stated opening date was the sooner-than-you-think third quarter of 2014.
When I attempted to get more information for an article about the status of the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission this past May, their PR firm said they had "no updates," and that was that. Perhaps coincidentally, shortly after the article was published, they posted their first status update since September 2013, apologizing for the delay and admitting that the permitting process has taken much longer than they expected. (Welcome to San Francisco!)
And, last week, they sent out an honest-to-goodness press release!
The big news is that they've received their final building permits, and construction is beginning for real. They also promise that updates will be coming more frequently, and all they can for sure regarding an opening date is that they'll be open in 2015.
The other exciting tidbit about the five-screen Alamo Drafthouse New Mission -- or, as they now seem to be referring to it, the Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission, which makes me wonder if the permits were delayed because of arguments about the prepositions -- is that it will be equipped with "Sony 4k Digital, RealD 3D and changeover 35mm projection." Another 35mm projector within the City and County of San Francisco is always good news, but if we're honest about the way the winds of cinema distribution are blowing for classic films, the 4k is especially important.
At this moment, the Embarcadero Cinema is the only art/repertory theater with a 4k projector; the Castro is supposed to be getting one this year, and they'll surely have it by the time the Drafthouse opens its doors in 2015, but the more projectors in town that can show things like the 4k restoration of Lawrence of Arabia with maximum pixels, the better.
Here's the full press release, and hopefully they'll keep their promise of not keeping us in the dark going forward.