Why Wasn’t the Movie Theater Open?

The Bay Theater, which is located next to Hank’s restaurant, did not open during Caruso’s Palisades Village grand opening on September 22.

No Movies, Yet, at the Bay Theater

One of the most highly anticipated openings at Caruso’s Palisades Village on September 22 was to be the movie theater.

Unfortunately, there were no movies listed on the Bay Theater marquee, nor was an upcoming schedule available–just the promise of “opening soon” on the sign.

Circling the News (CTN) called a Palisades Village spokesperson and was told the movie theater would most likely open in the winter.

On September 20, we e-mailed CinepolisUSA and asked about a specific opening date. Its response: “We are currently waiting for construction and permits to be finalized. We do not have a hard date of the opening but in the month to come more information will be released as the theater setup comes to completion. We look forward to welcome you as soon as we open!”

CTN learned that the movie theater chain has not yet received a liquor license from the state licensing board ABC, so we wrote to the state regulatory agency and asked about the theater, which lists two addresses: 15225 Palisades Drive and 15255 Palisades Village Lane.

Residents had written letters asking that alcohol not be served in the theater, possibly because there are 32 Alcohol Anonymous meetings held weekly at five locations in Pacific Palisades (population 36,500—including Santa Monica Canyon) (lacoaa.org/meetings/?tsml-region=pacific-palisades).”

Other concerns expressed by residents included the number of minors in this area who would attend the theater (which will have five screening rooms) and the desire not to sit next to somebody who has had two or three drinks.

In order to get a full-liquor license, the applicant must be a bona-fide eating establishment. We asked ABC Information Officer John Carr if a theater could be classified as an eatery.

“Yes, it [a theater] can qualify as a restaurant,” Carr wrote in a September 21 email.

We asked about the people who had sent letters requesting that a liquor license be denied.

“Anyone who files a letter of protest is entitled to a hearing before an administrative law judge, UNLESS they withdraw the protest,” Carr replied.

Circling the News told Carr the protests most likely would not be withdrawn and asked him what happens then.

“There MAY be a hearing; it is very early in the application process and the applicant has the opportunity to bring forward ideas and suggestions that might address protestants’ concerns,” Carr said.

Hank’s, the restaurant adjacent to the theater, serves alcohol, and Porto Via, located a few doors away, also had a full bar. Carr was asked if the state limits the number of liquor licenses within a one or two block area.

“Yes, the number of licenses issued within a census tract are based on the statewide ratio of one new on-sale license for every 2,000 residents in a city or county. According to state records, the census tract where Cinepolis is located had undue concentration,” Carr wrote on September 24. “There are seven ABC licensed on-sale locations in that census tract. The state ratio allows for three.”

He then explained that in the 1990’s, the California legislature approved a law regarding Public Convenience and Necessity (PC or N). “This law allows more licenses than the state ratio if Public Convenience or Necessity can be established by the licensee or local governing body.

“PC or N can be established if the business offers a unique service to the community that may not already exist, offers employment opportunities, enhances a business district, things of this nature,” Carr said.

He also pointed out that the theater could open before it received its liquor license, but just couldn’t sell alcohol.” He said, “The application process is continuing.”

CTN contacted Cinepolis on September 24 to see if the City had signed off on the theater’s conditional use permit and construction permits. We have not yet had a response. If we hear from Cinepolis, we will update this story.

(Editor’s note: CTN received an update from Cinepolis on September 29: The inside construction is not complete yet to open. We are still looking at late October early November. Thank you for your patience.”

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