Alamo Drafthouse nixes plans for theater at Rouzan

    Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since it’s original publication to include statements from Rouzan developer Tommy Spinosa. 

    Plans for an Alamo Drafthouse movie theater at Rouzan have fallen through.

    Rouzan developer Tommy Spinosa confirms that his lease with the Beaumont, Texas-based franchisee group planning to develop the theater, Cojeaux Cinemas, has ended. It’s unclear whether the lease, which was signed in the fall of 2014, has expired or was terminated for other reasons.

    “Our relationship with Alamo recently ended mutually and amicably.  The Major Street Plan approval delay significantly impacted Alamo’s planned opening,” Spinosa says in an emailed statement. “In addition,  feedback from residents and the surrounding community indicated better access to day-to-day living options, like grocery stores and other retail businesses, would better fit our community needs.”

    Planning Director Frank Duke says he was aware of a clause in the lease that gave Cojeaux Cinemas an out in the event Spinosa did not break ground on the project by a certain date. Duke does not know what that date was, nor was he aware this morning that the lease has been terminated.

    The theater was to have been the anchor tenant in the planned Rouzan Village Center, a more than 200,000-square-foot, mixed-use complex of apartments, shops and restaurants with a parking garage.

    Spinosa first announced in November 2014 that he had inked a deal with the popular Austin-based movie theater chain, which serves food, craft beers, wine and cocktails in intimate, cabaret-style movie theaters.  At the time, Cojeaux Cinemas President Anthony Coco said Rouzan was the ideal location for Louisiana’s first Alamo Drafthouse, which was to have seven screens and 900 seats.

    It is unclear exactly why construction on the Village Center has dragged on for so many months. Last May, the city parish issued a commercial construction permit for more than 220,000 square feet of commercial space to Spinosa’s contractor Glen Jarrell, and a giant crane began working on the site. Work soon terminated, however, and nothing appears to have been done in months.

    Part of the hold up may be connected to recent efforts to change the width of the setback along the stretch of Perkins Road that runs in front of Rouzan. The Metro Council Wednesday night approved the change, which will enable Spinosa to develop his commercial buildings closer to Perkins Road than originally planned.

    In his statement this morning, Spinosa says he is in talks with other potential tenants for the space.

     “We are actually in negotiation with multiple retailers, including neighborhood grocers,” he says.  “We are anxious to share this news with you as soon as negotiations are complete.”

    —Stephanie Riegel

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