The storied West Newton Cinema is embarking on an effort to potentially turn the venue into a non-profit visual arts and culture center.
As a first step, cinema co-owner David Bramante has entered into an agreement to sell the property at 1296 Washington Street to Newton's Mark Development.
Under the agreement, the Bramante family will continue to operate the six-screen cinema for the next 18 months to two years while it explores opportunities to transition leadership and operation to another entity.
That could potentially include forming a non-profit that would have the resources to invest in the physical facilities, support community arts and education initiatives and maintain a focus on independent films, Bramante and Mark Development CEO Robert Korff announced jointly yesterday.
“While it may be the right time for our family to stop operating the theater, our priority is finding ways to secure the long-term position of the West Newton Cinema as a community gathering place, beacon for the arts, and resource to our neighborhood,” Bramante said in a statement published on Village 14.
“As part of a lengthy series of discussions with Mark Development, we aligned on a shared hope that a cinema could be part of the West Newton community for many decades to come”
Built in 1937, West Newton Cinema has been independently operated since 1978, when Bramante acquired the operation.
As with other theaters, the pandemic has been tough on the business. A GoFundMe campaign saved the day in 2020 but the aging facility has long-needed renovating and a long term strategy. .
Mark Development has agreed that the cinema can continue to lease space and operate at the current site while Bramante considers different models. Mark does not have development plans for the site at this time and has committed that if the Bramante family finds a new entity that can sustainably operate the theater, it will remain in place, the company said.
It's a smart move by Korff who has been investing heavily in properties along the Washington Street Corridor and other parts of Newton. Think of how much the Coolidge Corner and Brattle Theaters add to Coolidge Corner and Harvard Square. A vibrant film and cultural facility in West Newton could only enhance the desirability of his other projects and all of Newton.
“One of the factors that makes Newton special is its local business leaders and institutions,” said Korff. “I’m pleased that we have been able to come to an agreement that creates the opportunity for the Bramante family to both realize the benefits of its long-ago investment in this property and look for options that help the cinema business evolve for the future.”
Now let's make it happen!
New rules may require you to change COVID testing policies
If your company has COVID-19 testing protocols in place, you may need to reexamine those rules to make sure they conform with new federal guidelines.
New protocols issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are aligned to make sure testing policies comply with federal laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act, writes Ty West for the Business Journals.
“While employers previously had broad latitude to screen workers for COVID-19, the new EEOC guidelines say employers must show testing procedures are both job-related and consistent with business necessity. They'll also need to consider the trajectory of Covid-19 cases in their communities,” West writes.
Wellesley Tavern at Linden Square is closing “We would like to extend a big thank you to the Wellesley community as we make the difficult decision to close our doors,” owners Laura and John Wolfe posted on Facebook. “We appreciate the patronage you have given us over the past few years and look forward to your continued support at our sister restaurant, The Cottage.”
Another Linden Square shop Tyed with Love is closing its after just eight months in operation but hopes to open again at a time and location to be determined (Swellesley Report).
Needham Community Farm is offering a virtual free herbal mocktail workshop, July 28 at 6 p.m. Learn all which herbs are best for refreshing summer drinks. Register one week or more in advance, you will get a bunch of fresh herbs to make a mocktail along with us. Register
Arsenal Yards is ready for its close up
The jaw-droppingly redevelopment of Arsenal Yards keeps rolling forward, with ten new retails/restaurant tenants opening this summer.
They join Buttermilk & Bourbon, Tori Jiro, Condesa Restaurante Mexicano and Tequila Bar, Kura Sushi, Sweetgreen, and Vitality Bowls which opened earlier this year
Starbucks, James Joseph Salon, AT&T and GNC, are all slated to open before the end of the year. KinderCare is coming in early 2023.
When done, Arsenal Yards will also have nearly 400,000 square feet of life science space and luxury residences, along with the 146-room Hampton by Hilton.
That includes the three building, 302 residential units at Blvd & Bond, which is nearly 100% leased. All life science space within Arsenal yards and the new building at 100 Forge is also entirely leased, Treffeisen reports.
Haven’t been to Arsenal Yards lately? Or even if you have, come see all that’s happening there -- and us -- Thursday (July 21) at 8 a.m. for our Coffee Connect in collaboration with the Watertown Business Coalition.
It’s free and members and future members are invited. RSVP.
See you there!
That’s Need to Knows for today, National Daiquiri Day, unless you need to know how -- and why you might want -- to build your own coffin.