Although the first Alamo Drafthouse opened less than a year ago, the Texas-based chain already has a second movie theater on West Colfax. The success of the location in Littleton prompted the company to extend its brand in metro Denver. The new Alamo will be part of the Sloans development plan, the project that is taking over the former home of St. Anthony's Hospital. That's a massive redevelopment that will take years to complete; the Alamo is targeting an opening for late 2015 or early 2016.
"There was a development plan that was passed about a month ago and not everyone in the neighborhood was happy with it," says Tom DeFrancia, Alamo Drafthouse partner and developer. "However, we're not a part of what we call the GDP -- the general development plan; our block of Colfax falls outside of that. When we had the community presentation recently, that was the first that anyone had heard about [the Alamo moving in]. The response was overwhelmingly positive."
The West Colfax location is a prime spot for an Alamo Drafthouse, because it will be easy to get to from many parts of the city -- and Colfax has a long and colorful personality that fits with the theater's programming. "We liked the area because of its proximity to downtown and really to the Highland neighborhood and LoHi. We also feel that West Colfax is a great connection west, with Lakewood and Edgewater out there. Going east, there's Auraria Campus and a dense urban population east of I-25 -- I think the access is really good," DeFrancia says.
"As cities go, Colfax was developed a long time ago as the main thoroughfare through Colorado -- it had a lot of activity. As folks moved out of the cities and into the suburbs, that area of West Colfax got hit really hard. It's been a long time coming for someone to come back there and improve the area. It was a popular area at one point because of its access. Highland is the largest neighborhood in Denver, so it is a great place. We look forward to being part of an improvement and being there for a very long time."
The theater chain is known for its interactive programming and non-traditional mix of films, from the latest in box-office hits to arthouse films, cult classics and seasonal series unique to each location.
DeFrancia says the company is excited to bring its brand of cinema to this particular neighborhood: "From a development standpoint, I am very excited and passionate to be part of the revitalization, and then from the theater standpoint, it really fits our mission statement -- and part of that is to be part of the community. To be able to go in and be a part of the community that is there and also responsibly help better that community, from an Alamo standpoint that is a great opportunity for us."