The Majestic, new downtown theater, will have VIP room

The Majestic, new downtown theater, will have VIP room

July 26th, 2009 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The Majestic, the 12-screen movie theater slated to replace the Bijou downtown, plans to offer a VIP Room that's to serve beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres to patrons.

A new upscale concept for theater operator Carmike Cinemas, the VIP Room will have luxury recliner seating for 56 movie-goers as well as servers who will deliver food and drinks, said Dale Hurst of Carmike.

"We're about to spoil the citizens of Chattanooga when it comes to a movie," he said.

The theater's operators will need to go before the city's Beer Board to gain approval for the sale of alcoholic beverages, and officials are hopeful of gaining that OK.

Mr. Hurst said Carmike also is working on having a VIP ticketing line at the new theater slated to open in November. He said the cost for the VIP Room ticket isn't set yet, but it will cost more.

The Carmike official said payment in the VIP auditorium could include running a tab using a credit card.

"It's something new for us," Mr. Hurst said. "We're still working on the strategy and the convenience for those involved."

He said Columbus, Ga.-based Carmike has a similar less upscale offering called Mugs and Movies at some other locations. Mr. Hurst said the VIP Room likely will cater to an older clientele, with patrons required to be 21 and older.

RiverCity Co., the downtown nonprofit group, is developing the new theater and commercial space - a $12 million project.

Jeff Pfitzer, RiverCity's director of special projects, said the VIP Room will "add a tremendous amount of value" and give patrons something unique.

"We've been told this is (Carmike's) new flagship," he said.

The theater is being built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, Mr. Pfitzer said. He said it will be the first standalone movie theater nationally with LEED certification.

"It's very solidly silver and looking at gold," Mr. Pfitzer said.

The 70,000-square-foot theater is going up on a block bounded by Broad, Chestnut, Third and Fourth streets that formerly was a parking lot. For many years, the site held the Haney Building.

The theater, built by EMJ Corp. and designed by Artech Design Group, will hold 2,500 seats compared to the Bijou's 1,100.

Mr. Pfitzer said engineering and design work is done to demolish the Bijou's interior and make it into commercial space.

"We're actively working a couple potential tenants for that space," he said. "We hope to have an announcement by the end of this year."