Fifth Avenue Cinemas gets a $2-million makeover and expansion

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      Fifth Avenue Cinemas patrons will be pleased to know that Cineplex has sunk a cool $2-million into the theatre to give it a stylish expansion.

      "For people who have been in the old space and then are going in now probably won't recognize it's the same building inside," Cineplex Entertainment communications vice-president Pat Marshall told the Georgia Straight by phone.

      Cineplex acquired Festival Cinemas, which ran both Fifth Avenue Cinemas and the Park Theatre, in 2013.

      As Fifth Avenue Cinemas originally opened in 1996, the numerous improvements will help bring the theatre up to date.

      Cineplex submitted an application for city approval in 2014 to add 3,500 square feet to the theatre's lobby.

      The theatre has now expanded into a former neighbouring tile shop, enlarging the theatre to approximately 21,500 square feet.

      The lounge area includes a fireplace.
      Craig Takeuchi

      The new 30-seat lounge area, which includes a bar and a fireplace, is located where the tile shop formerly was.

      What's more, the main entrance has been relocated from Burrard Street to Fifth Avenue, helping the venue to truly live up to its namesake.

      The former entrance is now the exit, alleviating pedestrian congestion on the Burrard Street sidewalk due to lineups at the former box office.

      New automated ticket kiosks have also been installed inside the entrance.

      More good news is that the facility is now fully licensed.

      "It's different than our VIP Cinema concept that we have in British Columbia where we serve you at your seat inside the auditorium," Marshall said. "We don't offer that service here but you do have the ability to take your food and beverages into the auditorium from the lounge area or from the concession area."

      The theatre relocated its entrance from Burrard Street to Fifth Avenue, with an automatic-sliding door.
      Craig Takeuchi

      A new, expanded menu served in the lounge will be unique to Fifth Avenue Cinemas within the Cineplex chain.

      "One of the things that I really love about what we've done is we're using a number of local Vancouver and B.C. specialty food shops and food purveyors with our product," Marshall said.

      Jackson Meats and Deli will supply Italian, Cuban, and pesto chicken paninis as well as artisanal cheese plate ($12.50) and a charcuterie board ($15.50). There are also items as varied as toasted sesame edamame ($7) to cranberry quinoa salad with chicken ($14).

      Earnest Ice Cream ($6), Chez Christophe macarons ($5.50 for three), and Cookie Delectables ($3.25) will round out the sweet side of the menu.

      Dead Frog Brewery (based in Aldergrove) and Labatt beers, red and white wine, cocktails, martinis, sangria, mimosas, and other beverages will be served as well. Accordingly, as alcohol is available on the premises, all attendees must be 19 years and older.

      The former concession stand has been spruced up and still offers the standard movie-going fare, such as popcorn, soft drinks, and snacks.

      All theatre seats have been replaced with high-backed chairs.
      Craig Takeuchi

      Marshall explained that the auditoriums have all been updated with new high-backed chairs, carpets, and paint. She said that the projection system was already upgraded to digital when Cineplex took over the theatre.

      Reserved seating is also now available.

      After six-months of renovations, the revamped theatre opened on October 16 and some improvements are still underway.  

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