Atlantic Beach, FLA.
89 months ago | reply
I had to take a picture of this theatre, it looked so cool.
89 months ago | reply
Fantastic! Is it a new cinema with a retro design or whatever the opposite of that is?
Jack read this about this theatre.Businesses adjust to church neighbors
By DREW DIXON, Shorelines staff writer
ATLANTIC BEACH - The conversion of a popular theater into an evangelical church has neighboring businesses adjusting to a changing clientele.
The Vineyard Christian Fellowship took over the former Atlantic Theatres at 751 Atlantic Blvd. in the North Beach shopping center on April 1. The complex, which used to house comedy shows, film festivals and plays, now is a house of worship and nearby businesses are still trying to get used to a new set of visitors.
"We were doing dining packages with the theater where we were able to give people comedy passes to go down to the show for free," said Tom Hanson, manager of the nearby Tree Steakhouse. "It was better for us, naturally, on the show nights."
Hanson said Wednesday the Tree Steakhouse often got a late-night clientele when the theater was featuring shows.
While the number of late-night visitors has decreased, he said the restaurant has seen an increase in visitors before sundown.
"It hasn't hurt us. But we used to have a lot of people that would come in on Fridays and Saturdays," Hanson said. "But we might be getting a few more people early [with the church]. ... It's changed it a little bit. I would say the time has changed and we're getting people earlier."
At Shore Things Cards and Gifts shop, co-owner Donnie Wanstall said the church congregation has helped business on Sundays, when the shop opens from noon to 6 p.m.
"When I come into work on Sundays, the parking lot is quite filled and it's obviously the church people," Wanstall said. "Our business is good all the time. But I'm sure it [the church] has increased traffic."
Wanstall admitted he wanted to see Freebird Live music club move from its Jacksonville Beach location to the Atlantic Theatres. But Freebird owner Judy Van Zant-Jenness nixed that plan after a dispute with property owner Chris Hionides.
Wanstall said the churchgoers seem to have adjusted well. But there are just fewer people on a regular basis.
"The only thing I didn't like about Freebird not coming here and the church coming is that we only get that exposure one day a week. Whereas with Freebird, we would have had that exposure almost every day of the week," Wanstall said.
Po' Boys Creole Cafe, immediately east of the theater complex, closed April 29. Owners could not be reached to explain what drove Po' Boys out of business in Atlantic Beach. Phone messages left with the restaurant chain's ownership in Tallahassee were not returned Wednesday.
Lee Brookins, senior pastor of the evangelical church, said his congregation has moved from its old location at 1708 Third St. N. in Jacksonville Beach into the theater complex. The theater building is getting some renovations and the congregation has increased by about 10 percent over the previous 500 members because of the theater marqee facing Atlantic Boulevard that now advertises the church, he said.
The church originally had only one Sunday service in the main 300-seat auditorium in the theater complex, but Brookins said they've added a second service because of the burgeoning congregation.
Church members like the availability of the businesses in the shopping center.
"As far as I know, we use it a lot," Brookins said. "We're there mainly on Sunday morning and we have smaller activities throughout the week. But a lot of times we're there, the main restaurants aren't even open."
Brookins said as the theater complex undergoes renovations, he's still deciding if the church will lease out some of the smaller theaters in the complex. He said a small play and a fundraiser for Boys and Girls Clubs have already been held in the smaller theaters.
And while many of the nearby businesses are keeping an eye on the church's impact, at Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex restaurant on the eastern end the North Beach shopping center, they haven't noticed any change in customers.
"Business has been steady. It's actually been rising," said Tijuana Flats Manager Simon Levin. "I haven't seen anything negative."
Cinema Treasures has this listed as the Royal Palm Theatre which seems a bit odd in that the Atlantic is its current name.
Member since 2007
Here's a link to this photo. Just copy and paste!
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