Rendering by Arrowstreet

The new Nordica Theatre is sure to provide an exciting evening alternative in Freeport, Maine, where spending a night out at the movies hasn’t been possible in many years. Less than 10,000 people live in Freeport, but with a regional draw from outlying areas there has long been strong interest in bringing a movie theater to the center of town. The only challenge has been…everything. Who would build it? Where? Who would operate it? Most importantly, who would come?

Boston-based Berenson Associates, owners and operators of the new Freeport Village Station, challenged us to find a way to build a multi-screen movie venue in their project, which sits at the center of town across the street from LL Bean’s Flagship store. Berenson also tapped Belmont Capital, which manages movie theatres from New York to Maine within the “Your Neighborhood Theatre” family of theatres, to operate the new venue.

The inherent problems of a sloping site with an existing garage and upper level retail plaza (see our Freeport Village Station project) became opportunities for the movie theatre project. We were able to provide space for six movie houses, each with 100–200 stadium-style seats, along with a full concessions bar. All screens will be fully digital, and two will be 3-D capable. We’ve even heard talk of providing alternative content: for example, live-streaming video from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Who would come to this new theatre? For starters, some in town fondly remember the original Nordica Theatre in Freeport from the 1940’s and 50’s and can’t wait to renew their once-regular visits. Others, who are not quite old enough to remember the original theater, would relish not having to drive 30 minutes to the next-nearest theatre elsewhere in Maine. Finally, there are more than 3 million annual tourists visiting Freeport, many of whom wonder what to do after the stores close. Now, they have another choice.

Topics: Mixed Use