KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kalamazoo is closing.
The combination theater and restaurant posted on its Facebook page on Feb. 1 that it is leaving the Kalamazoo theater effective April 3. However, a later Facebook post said the closing date was not clear.
The theater will no longer serve its full menu as of March 21 due to the dismantling of the kitchen.
According to documents filed with the state, Alamo said it was shutting down because the property on which the theater stands is being sold and that new owner is expected to terminate the Alamo’s lease.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema said earlier it will honor all gift cards and advance tickets through April 3. Anyone who has purchased a gift card and wants a refund is asked to visit the box office.
“We want to thank everyone who has visited this theater over the years and we hope you will continue to support cinema long after our departure,” the Facebook post read in part.
A new theater operator is expected to be announced soon by the building’s owner, EPR Properties, according to the Facebook post.
The company handling the announcement, Texas-based Fons PR, would not elaborate further than the details continued in the Facebook post. That post was edited Wednesday afternoon to remove the property owner’s name.
Wednesday night, several moviegoers visiting the theater said they were shocked to learn about the closure.
“The bar is set pretty high here because it’s like dinner and drinks and all the funny things they put together before the movie starts and [another theater is] going to have to compete with that,” Stephanie Evergreen told 24 Hour News 8.
The closing has even prompted a Change.org petition, which was started by Elanor Riley.
“If it is a decision by Alamo to leave then we want them to know we want them to stay. If it’s a decision by someone the property owner or someone else … we want them to know we want Alamo to be here instead of someone else,” Riley explained, adding she wants to make sure the decisionmakers see how much Alamo is loved.
The City of Kalamazoo and Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. released this statement on the closure of the Alamo on Thursday:
“Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated (DKI) and the City of Kalamazoo were disappointed by the announcement yesterday of the pending closing of the Alamo Drafthouse. The City of Kalamazoo together with DKI’s boards and committees continue to work diligently and strategically to recruit and retain businesses to downtown Kalamazoo, which add to the vibrancy and unique character of our downtown.
“We understand that it is vitally important to have thriving entertainment businesses in downtown and a successful movie theater is a key component of our downtown strategy. Despite our best efforts, there are factors, beyond our control, that enter into the finality of private business decisions. In the case of the Alamo Drafthouse, DKI and the City of Kalamazoo, did reach out to the Alamo Drafthouse and the property owners to encourage them to remain downtown.
“In the end, the decision to close the Alamo was strictly a business decision. The City of Kalamazoo and Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. will work with the property owner to keep movies in downtown Kalamazoo.”
The Alamo Drafthouse opened its doors in November 2013 in downtown Kalamazoo. It is one of only a few West Michigan movie theaters that sell alcohol.