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Plaza Theatre up for sale, future TBA

Will it remain a movie theater?

The temporarily closed Plaza Theatre is about to open a new chapter in its 67-year history, insists longtime owner, George Lefont. It appears, however, that any changes likely will come under new ownership.

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Lefont, who began showing foreign and art-house films in the former porn theater in 1984, put the business up for sale several months ago, initially advertising it for $135,000. More recently, according to an online listing, he's dropped the price to $100,000, including the projection equipment, aging metal seats and other fixtures — but not the building, which is leased. No word on whether that price includes the vintage Ms. Pac-Man game in the lobby.

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Will the Plaza remain a movie theater — and, if so, will Clay Reed, the leather jacket-clad Subsonics frontman, continue to greet us at the box office as he has for the past dozen years? Lefont won't say; he's characteristically cagey about his plans, refusing even to confirm his efforts to sell the 1939 Ponce de Leon landmark.

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The Plaza will reopen later this summer in a somewhat different form that "will be what the neighborhood is looking for," says Lefont, who also offers reassurance that the Art Deco neon sign will remain untouched.

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In recent months, the openings of Landmark Midtown Art Cinema and the Atlantic Station Regal Cinemas 16 have put the squeeze on the Plaza. Over the past two decades, the charmingly threadbare two-screen theater has switched from second-run features to first-run foreign and indie films to mainstream fare.

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One potential salvation for the Plaza, as suggested by its online ad, could be the addition of a beer and wine menu to compete with the nearby Landmark, although the cinema-and-drafthouse concept has never been a big hit in Atlanta.

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Although regular film programming has been suspended for the time being, the Plaza continues to host its Friday-night Rocky Horror Picture Show performances and will be available for rental screenings, says Lefont.




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