After permanently closing Sunday night, the movie screens at Silverspot Cinema in North Naples will remain dark for about five months as Alamo Drafthouse readies to open its first Florida location at Mercato.
Alamo, an Austin, Texas-based cinema-eatery, plans to have the former Silverspot space fully converted and open to guests by early 2024, targeting the holiday season at the end of this year. Updates to the theater will include premium, reclining leather seats, a revamped bar experience and a theme celebrating cinema’s greatest golf films, Alamo reports.
“We’re really excited not only to provide a great cinema experience for the area, but to introduce everything that makes us different from other theaters in the Sunshine State,” Alamo Drafthouse CEO Michael Kustermann said in a news release. “We can’t divulge the details yet, but we have some very fun plans for this location that are inspired by the area and many great films we love.”
Debuting in September 2009, Silverspot’s lease expired this month in Naples and was not renewed by North American Properties, leasing agent and property manager at Mercato.
“After a fantastic run we felt it was time for a change,” said Adam Schwegman, executive vice president of leasing for NAP’s Atlanta office.
Schwegman leads NAP’s leasing team to focus on a thoughtful, experiential merchandise mix at each of its projects, which includes Mercato. That’s the basis of the recent reboot of Mercato to reposition the upscale, 15-year-old mixed-use property as more of a community entertainment destination. The addition of Alamo fits that goal by catering to the cinephile and bringing a unique arthouse experience to Naples that will serve as a point of differentiation to any other theater in Southwest Florida, Schwegman said.
“Alamo perfectly aligns with our overall desire to provide the customer an unforgettable experience,” he said. “Not only will they be reimagining the space physically but, also, they provide a moviegoer with more than just a movie. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is known for delivering iconic special events, movie parties, live performances, multi-course film feasts and in-person appearances by filmmaking talent. They love the cinema and put their hearts and souls into it.”
Alamo Drafthouse was founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League, who were driven by a simple passion for watching movies and enjoying food and beer. Each Alamo Drafthouse location features dozens of local beers on tap and craft cocktails, as well as a scratch-made menu of burgers, pizzas, salads, appetizers, snacks and desserts. The North Naples location will be the first Florida spot for Alamo, which operates about 40 cinemas nationwide and has other locations coming soon.
Drafthouse is in the middle of the company’s name for a reason. Guests will be able to enjoy a cold drink and chat with other movie fans at the cinema’s standalone bar before and after seeing a movie. The bar will be set up to host small events, parties and screenings complementing Alamo’s signature programming.
In addition to showing the latest blockbusters, independent films and international movies, Alamo Drafthouse Naples will continue the exhibitor’s long tradition of repertory programming and memorable live events. Guests can expect interactive movie parties of both new and classic films complete with games and props, brunch screenings with a specialty menu of mid-morning favorites, live Q&A events with filmmakers and actors, and specialty series, such as Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday celebrating the best of genre filmmaking.
Although Alamo will not be open this fall for the 15th annual Naples International Film Festival at the end of October, the company is still in talks about the possibility of hosting films for the event as Silverspot Cinema has for many years. “I do know we’re in communication with them. We definitely would love to. I know we love to host film festivals, so there is communication happening,” said Brad Johnson, a publicity director representing Alamo.
Alamo Naples will have 11 auditoriums updated with about 650 new luxury recliner seats and 4K digital projection on the second floor at 9118 Strada Place in Mercato. The new dine-in cinema is not leasing the nearly 7,500-square-foot space on the other side of the escalators that Silverspot expanded into in 2013 with an additional 12th screen and lounge area.
“Being disconnected from the rest of the space, the 12th screen is tough to operate and will not be part of the new Alamo. We are exploring a number of unique uses for the space,” Schwegman said.
A seasoned leasing strategist in the culinary, entertainment and hospitality industries, Schwegman has ideas for the type of business he would like to see in that extra space: “Entertainment, be it a comedy club or a dinner club. Experiential like an AI art installation or a local distillery that would complement our current offering,” he said.
As with all Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations, the new Naples destination will employ stealthy servers trained to serve food and beverages to guests in their seats without disrupting the movie experience. The cinema chain’s no-talking-no-texting policy also is devised so that patrons can watch films free from distractions. Moviegoers are encouraged to arrive up to 30 minutes early to screenings for an ad-free preshow with funny clips, informative video essays and more.
In celebration of its first Florida location, Alamo Drafthouse will be giving away a free, year-long, two-person subscription to Alamo Season Pass, a monthly subscription service that entitles subscribers to one free movie per day. Sweepstakes details will be available soon on Alamo’s website.
Alamo’s local construction plans are still not available and permit activity has not been recorded yet with Collier County Growth Management for new renovation work at the Mercato cinema. Nevertheless, expect extensive renovations and features celebrating Naples’ distinction as one of the golf capitals of the world with decor centered on classic golf movies such as Tin Cup, Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore, The Caddy, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Greatest Game Ever Played.
In addition to two new restaurants, Old Vines and Waxin’s, coming to spaces vacated by Stage Deli and The Counter, respectively, and Polestar planning to launch an electric vehicle showoom, what else can we expect in the coming season at Mercato?
“Much more. But no hints,” Schwegman said.