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Plans approved for AMC movie theater at Market Arcade

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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An eight-screen AMC movie theater is coming to the Market Arcade building in downtown Buffalo. Mayor Byron Brown on Thursday announced the city has selected Benchmark to redevelop the Market Arcade Cinema Complex.

Brown says Benchmark had the highest bid to convert the cinema into a high-end digital theater. The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency approved the plans on Thursday.

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Credit File photo
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A new cinema at The Market Arcade complex could open in summer of 2016.

"To make this a first-rate movie theater complex with luxury seating, similar to the AMC property in Amherst, we thought provided the kind of destination that we were looking for in downtown Buffalo," Brown said.

The Maple Ridge 8 theater Brown referred to has seen a renaissance over the past year since upgrading to leather reclining seats last summer.

Benchmark has proposed a nearly $9 million investment to renovate the space. AMC will provide $3.8 million. Benchmark says it hopes to open the new movie complex by the summer of 2016. 

"I would anticipate that work on the renovations would happen around January of 2016," said Benchmark's Chief Operating Officer Steven Longo.

The Market Arcade building was purchased by developers Rocco Termni and Nick Sinatra earlier this year. Since the 1980s the city has subsidized the cinema, but the new agreement means the complex is now a tax-paying enterprise.

"There will be no public dollars going into this by the city or any other governmental entity. This will be strictly a private-sector deal," Brown said.

The city says it wanted to get out of the movie business and was not committed to upgrading to the new digital technology.