A locally owned movie theater could add a tap house to stay competitive, but the project will eliminate four on-street parking spaces in Southern Village.
The Lumina Tap House and theater would share the lobby, which already serves a small selection of beer and wine.
The tap house will be similar to a beer hall but won’t serve food initially, Bryan Properties project manager Dixon Pitt said. Up to 20 local and North Carolina brews could be on tap, and possibly a small brewery, he said. A second-floor mezzanine would overlook the theater lobby and the Southern Village Green, he noted.
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The bar could seat up to 100 patrons, depending on the final plans, he said. Construction is anticipated to start in about a year.
More movie theaters are offering an experience — not just movies and popcorn — Pitt said.
“You’ll be able to come and hang out before the movie, after the movie, or just come and watch the ballgame over in the bar side, and not even go to the movie theater,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun gathering place.”
The project would expand the building 10 feet into the Aberdeen Drive sidewalk and create a larger island on the corner. Two on-street parking spaces would be removed from Aberdeen Drive and two additional spaces from Market Street.
Nearby tenants were polled, and none reported a concern with the plan, Pitt told the town in a letter. The council has to abandon the parking right of way, but town staff can issue the zoning compliance permit for the project because of the existing Southern Village special use permit.
The council will hold a public hearing on the parking changes Dec. 5.
The goal is keeping the Lumina competitive in the changing industry, Pitt said. D.R. Bryan, president of Bryan Properties Inc., and his partner John Fugo opened the independent movie theater as a second anchor tenant on Market Street in 2000.
The Lumina started with four screens, a large arcade and cafe space, adding a fifth screen in 2005. The lobby bar was added in 2011, and the projectors recently were upgraded to show digital films.
“Generally speaking, it’s a changing environment, and it makes the movie theater more of a place where people want to be,” Pitt said. “It’s still such a fun experience to watch a movie on the big screen, and it’s how a lot of those movies are meant to be seen.”
He compared the Lumina plans to renovations roughly two years ago at Weaver Street Market that added retail space, new indoor and outdoor dining areas, and improved landscaping. That project enhanced the public spaces around Weaver Street, he said.
“It really has been great, and I think Weaver Street is able to use that space more,” Pitt said. “A lot of people probably stay a little bit longer than they used to, and to have that life on the sidewalk does so much for the overall feel of Southern Village when you’re walking around.”