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188 BR - It is empty.

Welcome to the first of a series of posts that will chronicle the rise of the new downtown Alamo Drafthouse theater a.k.a. Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz (henceforth referred to as the Ritz). I will be updating this site with weekly posts (every Sunday) documenting the progression of the new theater with lots of images and information about it and its construction.

A little bit about that number up there: 117 BR. The “BR” stands for “Before Ritz.” It is supposed to function as a kind of countdown to opening night (henceforth referred to as Day Zero), and I’m obviously riffing off the whole BC/AD thing. But I did want to have some kind of gimmick going on here, and that’s what I came up with.

However, it should be clear that even though my countdown places Day Zero on Friday, August 24, I must stress that I picked this date randomly. Let me make this clear:

Friday, August 24 IS NOT opening night at the Ritz.

In fact, in speaking with Tim before Weird Wednesday last week he told me that the next three weeks are really going to determine when opening night might be. So stay tuned. It is very likely that I will be doing some sort of time warp fudging with my countdown. With any luck, I will be warping backward (subtracting dates) rather than forward.

And if it turns out my somewhat random date choice is correct, well then, wouldn’t that be cool?

But let there be no mistake, a grand opening in August of this year is the goal. And remember, as Tim mentioned in his post below, June 27 is the official closing date of the original Alamo Downtown location. Be sure to get your fill before it’s gone, folks. This place is history (pun intended).

So, on Tuesday I made my first visit to the site. Daniel met me at the door as I said, “You weren’t kidding about the state of this place.” The floor was dirt and there were small tractors taking debris out the back door. Daniel gave me a quick glimpse of some of the plans: “You,” he said while gesturing in my direction “are standing where the bar is going to be.” If you look at the picture to the right, I was standing at the end of that protruding wall. “And this,” he said standing across from me, “is where the stairs are going to lead up to the theaters.”

When I showed up again on Thursday it was pretty much the same, except for the addition of a few ditches. Oh, and it was a hell of a lot more dusty in there, hence the cool streams of light that I couldn’t get enough of (I took a lot of pictures of it). Anyway, these ditches are for plumbing, and, according to Corey from HHCC, the big one in the kitchen area (in this photo) is for a grease trap.

Isn’t this the kind of trivial information you were wondering about? Alright, so maybe this isn't the most stellar post to open a series, but you've got to start somewhere. It’ll get a hell of a lot more interesting when construction begins, I can guarantee it.

There are a bunch more photos on my Flickr page. Just click HERE to go to my “Alamo @ The Ritz” photo set.

Fun fact: The demolition of the Ritz interior produced 440 cubic yards of concrete and dirt. Yeah. Think about it.

News Categories: Austin

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