Denman Cinemas in Vancouver’s West End to close at the end of September

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      Owners of the independent movie theatre Denman Cinemas in the West End say they will be closing their doors at the end of this month.

      Naz Jamshedian told the Straight she and her husband Mike received notice from the owner of the building on Comox Street that their short-term lease will not be renewed after September.

      Jamshedian said while they had been advised by their landlord that this would be coming at some stage, they were taken aback at the timing. They were hoping to renew their lease for five years starting in October.

      “We just didn’t expect it this early,” she said in a phone interview. “We were in quite a bit of shock.”

      The Jamshedians took over management of Denman Cinemas less than two years ago, replacing the carpets, bringing in new seating and investing in a brand new projector system.

      “The theatre was doing extremely well,” she noted. “We were extremely happy with the outcome of what we were putting in—we were seeing results right away.”

      The owner acknowledged the support of West End residents since the theatre re-opened its doors, noting the cinema has acted as a community venue for groups hosting various events, festivals and fundraisers.

      “I think they’re going to be very upset,” she said. “The West End community was…I would say the best customers we’ve ever seen."

      She noted Mike Jamshedian, who used to manage the Dolphin, New West and Lougheed Mall theatres, got into the business out of a passion for cinema. She also fondly recalls the experience of attending a neighbourhood theatre when she was growing up in Mumbai.

      Jamshedian said in addition to the resources they put into revamping Denman Cinemas, the owners have also invested a significant amount of time into the theatre.

      “My husband hasn’t had a day off since last year—December 2010,” she said. “He has only been off for maybe let’s say five or six days in total.”

      The co-owner said she and her husband were told that a Dollarama would be taking the place of the cinema.

      A spokesperson with property owner Siddoo Properties declined to comment on who the next tenant of the building will be, indicating the situation isn’t finalized.

      Jamshedian noted while she and her husband hope to continue running a theatre, she’s not optimistic they’ll find another venue.

      “Unfortunately I don’t think there are many left at all,” she said.

      “We don’t want to get into the same thing of working really hard towards something we like, and then being kicked out because [of] one the rent, and two, they want the demolition to get something else done.

      “And that’s what’s happening to these smaller theatres that are there, because the land value keeps rising and obviously there’s no way a theatre with the way it works can afford very high rents.”

      Other single-screen theatres in Vancouver that have recently closed include the Hollywood Theatre on West Broadway and Van East Cinemas on Commercial Drive. Burnaby's Station Square Cinemas closed on September 4.

      Before it closes at the end of September, Denman Cinemas will host another series of films as part of the Vancouver Retro Cinema Fest, from September 23 to 30.

      “We are going to be ending with a blast,” said Jamshedian.

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      Sep 10, 2012 at 7:42pm

      The theatre recently hosted a Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Canadian tour and the Vancouver 9/11 Hearings. Death treats were issued here and in Seatle for the organizers and venue owners. Just a coincidence?


      Sep 10, 2012 at 8:45pm

      Dollarama......that's the future of Vancouver truly world-class

      out at night

      Sep 10, 2012 at 9:56pm

      Oh boy, a Dollarama! Can't wait!

      Another nail in the coffin of culture. Thanks Siddoo Holdings!

      W. End

      Sep 10, 2012 at 9:58pm

      What a shame - this is a real loss to the West End, and I give the current operators credit for resurrecting the theatre. It's unfortunate the owners of the Denman Mall and Coast Plaza are taking such a short term view. Also sad that Vision Vancouver pre-approved rezoning of the hotel tower for rental apartment use without taking into account the potential loss of the theatre space, or the lost opportunity of converting the garden level to publicly-accessible facilities.

      A. MacInnis

      Sep 10, 2012 at 10:38pm

      Man, I'm trying to stay away from those death treats - they're bad for your health!


      Sep 11, 2012 at 1:06am

      Very sad indeed. Perhaps this can be stopped with enough response from the community. Sure hope so. If not - the Hollywood is still sitting there, lonely... ??

      Simple Little Fishing Village

      Sep 11, 2012 at 7:40am

      Sad to see the loss of another theatre ... although Denman Cinemas had to be the worst cinematic expeience in the city. There is so much potenetial a room like that could have - especially in that location ... now we get another lame store carry cheap Chinese-imported junk.
      Truly embarassing.

      Dae19: time to chnge the tin-foil on your hat there, buddy ...


      Sep 11, 2012 at 8:42am

      'Death treats' the reason why there's an obesity epidemic in North America.


      Sep 11, 2012 at 11:44am

      Dollarama? Really? Please say you're joking!

      Denman cinema

      Sep 11, 2012 at 1:43pm

      simple fishing village please don't criticize or comment till you get your facts right.since we took over we did different film festivals including Doxa .we raised lots of money for different fundraiser including for cancer fundraiser and we were home of canadian films and we were hosting first weekend club movies every month and we were partnering with pride society and showing pride movies once a month .the community loved us.