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Digital cinema, bottle shop planned for Butler Street in Lawrenceville

A former convenience store in Lawrenceville may soon become an independent theater and craft beer shop.

Botero Development is planning a 72-seat digital theater and bottle shop, to be located in the former Star Discount building at 4115 Butler Street.  Developer Brian Mendelssohn plans to remake the building’s first floor and basement into a theater specializing in classic films.

According to Mendelssohn, although there were once three cinemas in Lawrenceville, the neighborhood has been without a theater since the 1960’s. 

Rather than showing the latest blockbuster, the theater will curate films based on what Mendelssohn is calling marathon-based programming.  He says this could mean a series of films from directors like Alfred Hitchcock or Wes Anderson, a Lord of the Rings marathon, or even a showing of classic ‘80’s comedies. 

Mendelssohn says the initial investment in digital theater equipment will be considerable, but he expects the community to support the endeavor.

“I think this movie theater and the bottle shop fit right into what Lawrenceville has become and what our identity is,” he says.

In addition to the theater Mendelssohn plans to build an accompanying bottle shop within the building, allowing theater goers to purchase beer and drink beverages during films. The bottle shop will specialize in craft and import beers, both in draft and bottle form.

Mendelssohn says the shop will not have a bar-like setting; rather its experience will be more like visiting a winery.  He plans to host tastings, brewer talks, education sessions, and paring events.

“We really want to create a whole community celebrating local beer,” he says.

Botero is seeking special zoning exceptions related to parking configurations.  The board will make a decision within the next 45 days.  Pending approval, Mendelssohn expects to begin construction in December, and to have a grand opening for the theater and bottle shop next September.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Brian Mendelssohn

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