IFC hopes to double size

BY YANNIC RACK  |  Fewer Americans go to the movies every year and thus New York’s independent theaters have been steadily disappearing from the streetscape. But that’s not stopping one cinema in the city from doubling in size.

The IFC Center, on Sixth Ave. at W. Third St., recently filed an alteration application with the Department of Buildings to double the theater’s space by adding a nearly 10,000-square-foot expansion onto the back of the building.

The plan would fill in a currently vacant lot at 14-16 Cornelia St., which has been owned along with the theater by Midtown-based Friedland Properties since 1985.

If approved, the new structure would increase the number of screens from five to 11, though the building wouldn’t get any taller than its current three stories.

Right now, the theater’s five screens are split between the first and second floors. The D.O.B. filing shows that two theaters would be added to the basement level, two to the second floor and two to the third floor. One of the first-floor screens would relocate to the basement, and another one would gain a second-floor mezzanine.

The movie theater last made changes in 2009, when it grew from three to five screens.

According to reports, talks have been underway with community and city officials for the past month, and approval by Community Board 2 and the Board of Standards and Appeals is hoped for by early next year.

“IFC Center has spent the past 10 years celebrating filmmakers from New York and around the world by showcasing their documentaries, fiction features and short films for Greenwich Village audiences hungry for the best in contemporary and classic cinema,” John Vanco, the center’s senior vice president, said in a statement.

“Expanding our facility is crucially important in allowing us to continue to fill a unique and important cultural space in the Downtown arts scene, as well as helping vital works of cinema get launched into broader release.”

The Sixth Ave. expansion is not the only good news for local movie buffs. Just last month, it was announced that a new two-screen arthouse movie theater will be opening on the Lower East Side.

Called Metrograph, it is set to open in February 2016 at 7 Ludlow St., showing a mix of first-run independent and international movies, as well as repertory films.

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