By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
You can now catch a flick in downtown Delray Beach, again.
After several decades without a downtown movie theater, IPIC opened its 16th location in downtown Delray last month.
After six years of planning, the red carpet was rolled out for the theater’s grand opening. Invited guests were treated to a star-studded evening of food, drinks and of course movies.
“We are excited,” CEO and president of IPIC Entertainment Hamid Hashemi said of the opening. “Delray is really vibrant and we are finally here after six years.”
From the outside, the space comes alive with a living wall that spans across the building facade on Fifth Avenue. More than 20,000 individual plants in nine varieties make up the design created and installed by GSky Plant Systems.
The visuals continue inside as moviegoers are greeted by pop art installations from famous artists across the globe. Murals line the ground floor of the 326-space parking garage and art is on every wall of the building.
“The entire property is inspired by art,” Hashemi said. “We built the space around art.”
He said he wanted to create a destination where people had to stop by to see, like Wynwood in Miami.
“Wynwood was a neighborhood that became the place you have to stop and take a picture,” he said. “This will be the same thing. There are cool pieces of art around every corner.”
Inside, there are eight auditoriums that total 429 seats. And these aren’t your typical movie theater seats. Developed over a two year period, these patented, reclining leather POD seats are equipped with a personal swivel table, a place to store your shoes and handbags, pillows, blankets, service call buttons and unlimited popcorn.
The PODS are designed to encapsulate you in an intimate space while enjoying a flick on the big screen with optimal acoustics.
“It doesn’t matter where you sit, you have the perfect view,” Hashemi said.
And while the theater doesn’t have a dedicated restaurant like the Boca location, there will still be a Dine in the Dark menu and full service bar.
Culinary items are developed by three-time James Beard Award-winning Chef and COO of IPIC Entertainment Sherry Yard.
Thanks to a new IPIC app, your seat and snacks can be reserved before you even sit in your seat.
“We are all accustomed to Uber and Amazon,” Hashemi said.
Now, you can select your food and drink order and food servers known as “Ninjas” will deliver it to your seat.
IPIC won’t only be screening movies. The theater will also feature live shows like magicians, singers, speakers or comedians. One auditorium has a dedicated stage and set up for live productions.
In addition to bringing a movie theater to the downtown, the project is also adding new Class A office space. IPIC will be relocating its corporate headquarters to the project shortly. Hashemi said about 60 IPIC employees will have offices in the building. There is also a retail component to the building.
He said he had his eye on adding an IPIC to Delray even though there was already one in Boca because the city was missing an entertainment component that wasn’t just a restaurant or bar.
“The town has a lot of things, but not everything,” he said.
He likened a successful city to a four-legged stool. The legs of the city should be residential, office, retail and entertainment.
“All four pieces have to be there,” he said. “You can’t survive on food and beverage.”
So, he said Delray was a place to leave his mark.
“If you are going to go out of your home [for a movie], it has to be something special,” he said.