Plans to include an Alamo Drafthouse theater in the Rouzan mixed-use development off Perkins Road have fallen through, with a grocery store now expected to anchor the development’s retail center.
“We’re sad to report that we’re unfortunately no longer moving forward with the current development of a theater in Baton Rouge,” said Anthony Coco, of Cojeaux Cinemas, the franchisee that would have owned the theater. “We’re disappointed by this news but are actively searching for new opportunities in the area.”
The seven-screen Alamo Drafthouse would have been the anchor of the Village Center, the commercial and retail center of the Rouzan development. The first phase, which included the theater, will have other retailers, a 200-unit apartment complex and a parking garage.
Tommy Spinosa, who is developing Rouzan, said in a statement that delays in getting the major street plan for the development caused him and Alamo Drafthouse to go their separate ways.
The Alamo would have been the first Louisiana location for the Austin, Texas-based chain, which has been acclaimed as “the best theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly. Alamo Drafthouse is known for showing a mix of first-run movies and classic offbeat hits, such as “The Big Lebowski” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” along with selling craft beers and a variety of food.
Ironically, the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council approved a request from Spinosa on Wednesday that allows him to build the Village Center closer to Perkins. Before Wednesday’s vote, the center had to be 125 feet from the road; now, it can be at least 100 feet.
“Although the approval was granted just last night after several deferments, Alamo had a desire to find a market in which they could open more quickly with a set timetable,” Spinosa said.
Construction on the Village Center is still going ahead, except the development will now be anchored by a grocery store. According to Spinosa, Rouzan residents and people who live near the development said their needs would be better met by improved access to a neighborhood grocer.
Negotiations are underway with multiple retailers, he said.
“We hope to be at a point where we can formally announce those plans soon,” Spinosa said. “We are confident that, in the long run, a grocery-anchored center is the best fit for Rouzan, its residents and the surrounding community.”
A Movie Tavern theater, which is similar in concept to Alamo Drafthouse, has been open in Citiplace since August. Like Alamo Drafthouse, the theater allows patrons to order food and drinks by pressing buttons on their seats. A second local Movie Tavern is set to open Tuesday in the Juban Crossing development in Denham Springs.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate