Downtown residents may soon be saved the hassle of traveling to the suburbs or suffering a walk through a smoky casino just to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster on a big screen, now that the City of Las Vegas Planning Commission has given its blessings to the proposed Eclipse Theaters project planned for the northwest corner of Third Street and Gass Avenue.
Currently a vacant lot abutting the back corner of Newport Lofts, Eclipse Theaters is slated to be a three-story, 53,000-square-foot integrated entertainment destination centered around an eight-screen, first-run cinema complex. With a second-floor restaurant and lounge, reserved seating and VIP food and beverage service in select theaters, Operating Manager Nic Steele says Eclipse will be a “one-stop shop for the ultimate date night.” He noted that Eclipse Theaters’ board includes Hollywood industry types to help “bring A-list programming like movie premieres and film festivals” to the venue.
“It’s critical for us as the developer to work with partners that are experienced in their craft,” Steele said. “We are working with contractors who specialize in building movie theaters. We are working with theater operators who own and manage theaters.”
The sleek, steel-and-glass design was intended to reflect the aesthetics of surrounding buildings in the area, including the new Las Vegas City Hall and neighboring residential buildings such as Newport and Juhl. With a street-facing entrance, an alley-accessible parking garage and ground-level retail shops, Eclipse could be just the thing to bridge the walkability gap between the Arts District and the Fremont East Entertainment District.
“It’s an interesting location,” said local culture blogger and Zappos.com employee Brian Paco Alvarez, who lives at L’Octaine apartments, located just two blocks east of the proposed theater. “It actually can do a lot for this neighborhood.”
Although Eclipse seems to have come out of the blue, Steele said the project is “the culmination of 12 months of listening to individuals and constituents in the area,” which will allow the project’s construction to be fast-tracked. “We are all motivated to rip the first ticket in late 2014,” he said. Although a Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency newsletter reports the $20 million project is 70 percent funded, Eclipse is running an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to garner additional public support … and $200,000.
“As in everything we do, we want our partnerships to be a two-way street,” Steele said. “As such, every contribution receives a reward, from free VIP tickets to ‘own your own theater’ viewing parties. We want you to feel as excited about the project as we are.”
The last time a first-run multiplex gave Downtown a shot was in 2002, when Crown 14 Theatres opened at Neonopolis, ultimately shuttering its doors in 2009 (though under different ownership as Galaxy Neonopolis 11).
That was almost five years ago, however, and both the residential and commercial landscape of Downtown Las Vegas are drastically different today.
“I think with the amount of people who already live near that plot of land, there’s more than enough in the local area to support that, plus the general, larger downtown area,” Alvarez said, “I would be there every Saturday.”