A liquor license has been approved for Bloomington’s east-side Carmike Palace Cinema 10 by the Bloomington City Council on a 7-2 vote last week.
A budget of $3-$6 million has been awarded for the renovations, which will include a full kitchen, new seating and full service dining.
Current seating will be cut in about half, and a wait staff will serve guests in each auditorium during the movie screening.
“It will attract people and increase job opportunities,” Ward Eight Alderman Robert Fazzini said of the theatre’s plans for upgrades.
Revamps for the theater will take about three to four months, during which time the theater will close. Once the renovations have been finished, the staff will undergo training for one month.
Staff will be instructed to follow all regulations for customers buying alcohol and will ensure every precaution including the use of wristbands and checking IDs.
Outside security and ushers will also work as a part of keeping control.
“We’re not the first to do this,” Fazzini said of adding the dining experience to Carmike Palace Cinema. “We’re changing the entire business model.”
He added that the project involves working with the local farmers and restaurants of the area. The theatre will offer local beers once it reopens.
While the project will shortly be underway, the vote was not unanimous. Ward One Alderman Kevin Lower and Ward Four Alderman Judy Stearns voted against it with concerns including too much interference to businesses and too much government interference.
However, the purpose of the revamps and obtaining the liquor license was not in hopes of attracting college students.
“The cost will be too high for college students,” Fazzini said. “This is to attract families.”
Renovations are expected to begin in July, going through October of this year. The theater is expected to reopen its doors in November or December, he said.
When Carmike Palace reopens, it will officially run two full businesses — the restaurant and the theater.
“When a company is willing to increase its employee base from 25 to 100 and spend between $3 million to $6 in our community as well as close for business for four months … losing significant revenue to bring an innovative dinner and theater concept to our community, then we should embrace the fact that B-N was its first choice for the roll-out of its new business model,” Fazzini said.
The Carmike Palace liquor license is classified under entertainment. This means that admissions need to account for at least 60 percent of sales; alcohol sales cannot exceed 40 percent.
“We are not increasing the number of people driving around inebriated,” Fazzini said.