In November the owners of the Lakewood Theater said it was more than likely that in coming months the historic venue would be sliced into restaurants sooner than later, bringing to an end its 76-year run as a place to see movies, bands and burlesque. And that might still happen.
It could become an Alamo Drafthouse ... by which I mean there have been rumors in recent days that the Alamo's eyeing the Lakewood, which were confirmed this afternoon by Dallas attorney Craig Kinney, co-owner of Lakewood and the surrounding properties.
"We've talked to everybody," Kinney says. Problem is, he adds, "Nobody's committed. So I can't tell you whether they're interested or not."
Well ... it certainly sounds like they are. Friday afternoon Alamo Drafthouse COO Bill DiGaetano certainly didn't come off like a man ready to deny eyeballing the site.
"Alamo has a policy not to comment on real estate negotiations, whether real or fictional," he said. "But we have a long history of preserving 35mm film and, as shown by our Ritz Theater in downtown Austin and the current restoration of the New Mission Theater in downtown San Francisco, we have a huge passion for preserving great classic movie houses. I personally love the Lakewood Theater and would love to see it stay a theater."
And that's all he'll say on the subject. For now. Except this one notable caveat: "If anything came to fruition, we wouldn't touch the marquee or the tower."
Kinney says there are actually three "potential entertainment"-related concepts looking at the Lakewood, including the Alamo. "We're actually further down the road with another party," he says, "but no one has committed." When asked if that means the venue's options remain "very much up in the air," Kinney said, "Absolutely."
Accommodating the Alamo wouldn't be impossible, either: Kinney says that, yes, you could divvy up the space into three or four houses, and the downstairs bar could serve as a kitchen. And with the Balcony Club's latest closing set for this Monday, there's room for one of the Alamo's bars ... or not.
"We want to keep the Balcony Club," says Kinney. "It's going to shut down, and I hope that's not permanent. We would hope in an ideal world they would be compatible with the new theater. That's a very small space, so we can't let that tail wag the dog."
Which would be a great movie to show at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakewood.
He also acknowledges the obvious issue: parking. "We're trying to deal with that," says Kinney. There's no obvious, easy solution in sight.
The Cedars outpost is scheduled to open later this year. The Irving location will open in 2016. And ... well, check back Monday.