The 2nd Street District in downtown Austin is known for being a chic shopping and dining district in the city center. Populated with trendy wine bars, boutique dress shops, upscale furniture stores, and fashionable residential apartments and condos, 2nd street’s motto “Shop. Live. Dine.” seems to encompass your options pretty completely.
Well, not after April 2011. The 2nd street district’s motto will most likely have to change to add the word “See.” As in, see indie art films. The Violet Crown Cinema is slated to open in late April of this year.
I was recently able to sit down with Bill Banowsky, Kelly Sanders, and Ava (the brains behind the whole operation, I’m told) to talk about the concept and vision of the VCC.
Most of the information we gathered confirmed things that have already been reported. The cinema is going to have four screens, about 200 seats, all digital projection (this means a higher quality picture!), a full bar, and some “gourmet-ish” dining options. I was told that James Holditch, a seasoned bartender from Fonda San Miguel (yum!), will be the head chef Food & Beverage Manager (the VCC will not have any sort of restaurant – just a selection of gourmet food items and traditional concession fare) there.
Logistically, patrons will order food outside of the theatre auditoriums, and then bring their meals inside, where the chairs will have “tray systems” to accommodate comfortable dining. There will not be “table service” in the theatre auditoriums themselves. There will be reserved seating that can be purchased online.
In addition to the theatre auditoriums, there will be four other seating and lounge areas where patrons can nibble and drink: an outdoor deck, general seating outside of the lobby, an upper lounge, and a lower lounge.
Bill Banowsky, who is heading up this venture, is not new the indie arts film scene in Austin. He is a co-founder of Magnolia Pictures, and has also served as CEO of Landmark Theatres (the folks who used to operate the Dobie Theatre, among others, before pulling out in 2010).
A big sell for the theatre will be the validated parking. Patrons will receive free parking in the adjacent AMLI covered lot for four hours. With the new parking measures that are being considered for the downtown area, this should give patrons of the VCC some level of comfort.
Bill Banowsky says the goal of the cinema is to create an “art cinema that people from all walks of life will appreciate.” We here at DAB can’t wait to experience it!
Things I still don’t know after my interview, and on which I am waiting on more info to pass on:
1) Ticket Prices
2) Interior renderings
3) Age Policy?
4) Specials for Downtown Residents?
5) Opening Movie Line-Up
6) Hours of Operation
Check out Violet Crown’s Facebook page for construction photos and updates.