Theater chain AMC is planning to convert the six-screen Glen Cove Cinemas into luxury theaters with plush seating, the owner of the cinema building said.
The move would be the latest in a nationwide and regional trend toward cushier seating in theaters to attract more moviegoers.
The projected increase in theater attendance would bring more customers to nearby restaurants and other businesses, helping in the revitalization of downtown, Mayor Reginald Spinello said.
“People will be going to a movie, having a bite and going out afterward for a drink or a cup of coffee,” Spinello said. “I think it creates more foot traffic and a more steady diet of it.”
Francine Koehler, executive director of the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, said the interest in Glen Cove from one of the nation’s top theater chains, which operates nearly 5,300 screens nationwide, shows confidence in downtown.
“If they didn’t see a potential or a market, they wouldn’t be building this,” she said.
AMC Friday declined to comment on its plans for the site.
“We’re exploring our options for that location, and we’re excited about the potential,” AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan said.
He said that when AMC begins leasing a new site, the company typically remodels the theaters and installs electronically reclining seats.
Robert DiNoto, CEO of the company that owns the building, Woodbury-based Questus Capital Management, said he and AMC are investing more than $4 million in the remodeling.
“It’s going to be a major renovation, a full gut,” DiNoto said.
The man who DiNoto said is the current cinema operator, Jay Levinson, could not be reached for comment.
DiNoto said the new seating will attract residents of Glen Cove, Lattingtown and other nearby communities who now must drive miles to the south to watch a movie in luxury seats.
AMC and other chains have in recent years added wider, plusher, reclining seats to cinemas in Hicksville, Garden City, Levittown and other locations.
Massachusetts-based National Amusements installed luxury chairs in all 16 auditoriums of its Island 16 Cinema de Lux in Holtsville over the past few months, and one theater now features air and water blasts, fog, scents and other special effects. The cinema already had a full-service restaurant and cocktail lounge.
Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Theatre Owners, said amenities such as expanded food options and plush seating are a growing nationwide trend.
Some renovated theaters see attendance gains of 70 percent to 80 percent, he said. Some raise prices after installing new seating; others do not, Corcoran said.
“The strategy is you put in these luxury seating concepts and you end up with fewer seats but higher demand,” he said.