If all goes according to plan, the Village Shops will be home to the inaugural location of a new restaurant/entertainment concept that its founders — two former AMC Theatre executives —hope will spread throughout the Kansas City metro and eventually across the country.
Dineplex International, LLC President Frank Rash will announce today that his company has finalized a lease with LANE4 Property Group to bring the first-ever STANDEES “entertaining eatery” to Prairie Village. Pending approval from Prairie Village’s Planning Commission, construction of the facility on the site of the former Macy’s Home Store and Einstein Bros Bagels will begin before the end of the year, with a target opening date in Spring 2013.
Rash, who was senior vice president of strategic partnerships at AMC before leaving the company in 2010, said he and former AMC chief executive officer Peter Brown began talking about the idea for the concept several years ago.
“This is an idea and an opportunity that we have been looking at for quite a while – since back when we were both at AMC,” he said. “But, for a number of reasons, we didn’t really have the opportunity to pursue it until now.”
Rash said the facility will have three intimate 80-person theaters — a typical auditorium at AMC Town Center has around 250 seats — that will run adult-targeted studio and independent films (think “Moneyball” or “The Descendants” as opposed to “The Avengers”) as well as niche-programming, like live simulcasts of concerts or operas.
“Digital opens up a whole world of content that you don’t tend to see at traditional theaters,” he said. “We’re looking to make that a big part of what we offer.”
But the concept will be “first and foremost” an eatery. Industry statistics show that 42 percent of people who go to a movie dine out before or afterward. The goal is to position STANDEES as a natural place to grab a bite as part of an evening of entertainment, Rash said, be it in one of the movie theaters, or just in the dining area.
STANDEES will have an 200 seat restaurant serving what the owners call “chef-infused” cuisine — a menu featuring a wide range of entrees, small plates, sandwiches and desserts. Patrons can dine in the restaurant area or take their food with them into the theaters, where plush seats will each have a small table attached. The venue’s alcohol license will allow patrons to drink both in the restaurant and in the theaters. The restaurant will also feature a number of digital screens to run movies, sports, concerts — “anything, really.”
“Our sweet spot is the 40-plus crowd,” Rash said. “There will be a cool factor that makes this a place where 21-and-up people want to come and enjoy themselves. But our core audience is mature.”
The Macy’s Home Store space has been vacant since fall 2010. LANE4’s Justin Kaufmann said the company is still in talks with Einstein Bros about relocation plans for the popular breakfast and lunch spot somewhere at the Village Shops, though nothing is finalized.
“Unfortunately, we had an oddly configured space there that wraps around the current Einstein location, and to get this concept to work, we have to absorb that space,” Kaufmann said. “As one of their customers, I want to find a place for them. Their other customers will want us to find a place for them. And they want to continue to be at the center. All of the interests are aligned. It’s just a matter of handling the logistics of finding the right space.”