Liberty-based B&B Theatres revives former Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet; fall reopening planned

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Former Alamo Drafthouse’s Mainstreet Kansas City location. // Photo by Travis Young

[Updated 2:59 p.m. with an official statement from B&B.]

Liberty-based movie chain B&B Theatres is taking the space of Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Kansas City.

After eight years in Kansas City, Austin-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet closed after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to pandemic hardship. However, B&B Theatres says despite an unprecedented 2020, they predict exceptional growth and expansion. B&B is the 8th largest theater chain in the country and is Missouri family-owned since 1924.

The sixth-largest theater chain in North America already operates 10 theaters in the Kansas City area and taking over Alamo Drafthouse puts them in the heart of the metro. In a statement, B&B Theaters says it is planning a fall reopening.

“It’s impossible to overstate how tough this year has been for individuals, families, and businesses,” says Brock Bagby, B&B Theatres executive vice president. “Our industry has been hit hard, and our hearts go out to operators that have been forced to close locations and to communities that have been left without theaters.”

The Alamo Drafthouse was the subject of a Pitch investigation in the fall of 2020, that showed among a plethora of management issues, the building itself was in dire need of massive renovations. While we’re excited to see that the historic location will not be abandoned for long, questions certainly linger about how much money and time will be required to make the venue suitable for guests and employees—and whether B&B is prepared to make those commitments ahead of a reopening only a few months out.

“Originally a facility for stage productions, the theater has been remodeled and reimaged many times over, and B&B has plans to introduce a few new amenities but remain true to the building’s celebrated tradition,” B&B says in their statement.

B&B has plans to install heated electric reclining seats to provide guests comfort during their visit. Wider cushions and extended legroom as well as the ability to reserve seats ahead of time are other bonuses.

Additionally, B&B Theaters will be expanding their signature Johnnie’s Jazz Bar & Grill into the space. Johnnie’s provides live jazz music as well as casual dining and high-quality wine, beer, and cocktails. Other entertainment at Johnnie’s will be announced on their website soon.

“This location has been a source of excitement and optimism for us and we are so thankful to Cordish for working with us to negotiate a deal that enables us to keep this historic and impressive facility open,” Bagby says. “Kansas City deserves it.”

Further announcements will be posted on B&B Theatre’s website as well as the company’s social media accounts.

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