Tampa Theatre plans to open microcinema theater next door

The expansion ‘fundamentally changes our business model,’ said the not-for-profit theater’s CEO.
Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa. Eve Edelheit  |  Times (2012)
Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa. Eve Edelheit | Times (2012)
Published October 16
Updated October 17

For the first time in its 93-year history, Tampa Theatre will have more than one screen.

The theater on Wednesday announced plans to build a “microcinema” offering “a second unique filmgoing experience on Franklin Street” with 40 to 50 seats.

Tampa Theatre will remodel the storefront directly next door to its box office at 711 Franklin St. in Tampa to create the new screening room it’s referring to as “T2."

The storefront already has an entrance beneath the Tampa Theatre marquee and is currently occupied by florist and gift shop the Nature Shop.

The addition would give the theater the ability to screen more films, even when the theater’s main 1,200-seat auditorium is booked.

“The addition of a second screen fundamentally changes our business model for the better,” Tampa Theatre president and CEO John Bell said in a news release. “There is a reason that a single-screen cinema hasn’t been built in 60 years. T2 will allow us to serve our community in new ways by doubling our ‘shelf space’ and giving us the kind of programming flexibility Tampa Theatre has never had before.”

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Bell added that he wants "Tampa’s true cinephiles to consider it the best screening room in town.”

T2, designed by local architectural firm Kreher/Barna and Boston Light and Sound, is expected to cost $1.3 million and be funded in part by a $650,000 grant through Hillsborough County’s Capital Asset Preservation program and private donations.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020, with an opening in early 2021.