This is a rendering of what the former Beach Cinema in Bradley Beach will look like when it is anticipated it will open next year.
By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
No news is no news, concedes Luke Parker Bowles, the head of the organization that has plans to remake the former Beach Cinema in Bradley Beach into a state-of-the art venue.
While Parker Bowles hesitates to name a specific drop dead date, he expects The Bradley will be off and running by the first quarter of 2024.
Right now the cinema is a victim of timing, the business climate during and after the pandemic and of course, the oft noted supply chain issues.
But things are stabilizing, said the chief executive officer of Cinema Lab, who is in town this week to meet with project architects.
“People will know when the gates go up and construction begins,” he said. “We are not just going to slap together a movie theater. We are raising the last of the money and people will be very pleased when they see what we will have done.
“It does not behoove me to give anything but the best experience to people who have supported the project,” he said.
It is irresponsible, he said, to put out updates that don’t really say anything.
“No news is no news,” he said. “The news I can give is that the project is not dead. After a while, people begin to say we are jokers but we are not jokers.”
Overcoming the challenges of the last few years has been a goal and the materials and equipment needed to proceed with interior rehab is now on site or nearby.
“There will be a Bradley and it will be a site for sore eyes and you will see that,” he said. “You will see it when you see it.”
He said his fund-raising campaign is close to reaching its goal, he doesn’t want to bring out the hammers and saws and drills and paint brushes until he has nailed down 100 percent of the financing, so to speak. It is the best way for him to be responsible to the people funding the project.
“We are closing up on the fund-raising,” he said during an interview. ” I will not start construction until every penny is in the bank.”
Parker Bowles said there seems to be much support in the business community to support the Bradley as it is a primary draw to the borough’s downtown.
Originally, the Bradley Beach icon was known as The Palace, a vaudeville theater with its initial performances in 1915. Fast Forward more than 105 years and the renamed and rebranded Showroom, it was forced to close its doors during the pandemic in 2020.
“We are very, very concerned with keeping the elements of the original theater,” , said Parker Bowles has said referring to the mosaic tiles in the lobby which still features the original name of “The Palace.” Workers also have located antique tin roof tiles that will be made parts of the design.
When renovations to The Bradley are complete, movie goers will experience a community-first experience including three auditoriums with state-of-the-art technology. The Bradley will be the second destination New Jersey cinema to be reimagined by Cinema Lab. The Village at SOPAC was the first to open on July 22, 2021. Cinema Lab also runs The Canon (in Canon City, CO) and is planning several other sites.
Renovation work will create three theaters from one with fewer seats than before. The main theater will have 201 seats while the other two will have 46 seats and 53 seat. Elevated concessions – including locally sourced candy and healthy snacks – will be offered in the renovated theater.