By Daniel J. Sernovitz
The curtains have finally risen on the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Crystal City, more than five years after the Austin, Texas-based movie theater chain signed on as the anchor retail tenant in JBG Smith Properties’ (NYSE: JBGS) larger Central District redevelopment.
A lot has happened since then, including JBG’s transition from a privately held company into the publicly traded real estate investment trust that landed HQ2, Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters, one of Greater Washington’s biggest economic development deals in a generation. Logistical issues, including design changes meant to accommodate the e-commerce and cloud computing giant’s space needs, kept theater co-owners Anthony Coco and Joseph Edwards from being able to open before the start of the pandemic as they’d hoped. Then, of course, came the coronavirus outbreak, which had a profound impact on the movie industry that’s slowly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. The stuff of movies, right?
“I think that there’s a lot of folks that have known we were coming, but I don’t know that they know we’re about to open,” Edwards told the Washington Business Journal ahead of Monday’s soft opening. “We didn’t want to finish a building that didn’t make sense during Covid, so we figured it out, working with JBG, and here we are. I think it’s a good time to open.”
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