The scene is set for Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake to make its debut in Denver’s West Colfax neighborhood.
Community leaders and the faces behind the nearly $14 million project held a ribbon-cutting for the theater Monday, a week ahead of its official opening. The theater at 4255 W. Colfax Ave. will be the second Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Colorado after the well-established Littleton location.
“It’s going to make a terrific difference in the city and county of Denver,” said Nettie Moore who has been living in West Denver since the 1920s.
The owners of the theater, Dave Kennedy and Tom DeFrancia, hope to create a community center for Moore and other residents of the rapidly changing West Colfax neighborhood.
“Four years ago, the team was standing right in the parking lot and looking out on Colfax saying, “How are we going to convince the bank to finance this movie theater,'” Kennedy said.
Community leaders were eager to work with the owners to make the project happen. The Denver Urban Renewal Authority kicked in about $3 million in incentives.
Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake will anchor the Sloans development replacing the former St. Anthony Central Hospital complex. The theater includes a 32-beer tap bar called BarFly and eight screens ranging from 196 to 48 seats.
The micro-theaters could potentially be used to host students from the nearby Colfax Elementary School. Bands have already been booked to play in the bar, said Steve Bessette, creative director at Alamo.
The theater wants to work with the school, neighborhood groups and residents to help shape the feel and programming, Bessette said.
The theater in Littleton has drawn actors, authors and directors for special screening events. That type of programming is expected to take place at both theaters going forward as well as the theater planned for Westminster.
“I’m excited to see what is different here and what will work here that won’t work in Littleton,” Bessette said.
The author of “L.A. Confidential,” “The Black Dahlia” and “Perfidia,” James Ellroy, started a film series at the theater in Littleton after moving to Denver from California.
“Will the Drafthouse in Sloans Lake be as close in my affection?” Ellroy said. “I can only say, more will be revealed.”