The Revere Journal asked Ward 6 Councilor Richard Serino – the councilor for the ward in which Showcase Cinemas is located – for his thoughts on the closing of the famed movie theater complex at 565 Squire Road, Revere, and the future plans for a new Amazon distribution center for the site. Councilor Serino wrote the following comments:
“With the closing of Showcase Cinemas, it’s a sad end for a long chapter of Hollywood in Linden Square. From a drive-in to a movie theater where my parents took me to see my very first movie to seeing ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ and ‘George of the Jungle,’ with my mom to now the ‘new’ Showcase that was built in 2000 where I saw all the Harry Potter movies and where I would take my younger cousins to see the LEGO movies, I will certainly miss Showcase Cinemas.
Sadly, in the age of COVID and streaming services, the reality is that the movie theater industry is going away. Just this month, Warner Brothers announced all its 2021 movies will be going to stream on HBO Max instead of to movie theater chains. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu and Peacock, it is just easier to get a movie straight on your TV from the comfort of your own home. It’s unfortunate, but that is the reality.
Even myself, I think the last time I physically went to the movies was probably four years ago to see Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ With regard to the future of the site, I am thrilled that it will remain a commercial property, and one that will bring jobs and revenue to the City of Revere. Further, I am relieved that it will not be more residential apartments. One of the main concerns I have heard so far about the prospect of Amazon coming to Ward Six is increased traffic. However, preliminary traffic studies are showing that the Amazon site will actually have less of an impact on traffic than even the current movie theater. Think about it – when a popular movie would let out on a Saturday afternoon, you would get approximately 100 cars exiting at once. Amazon staggers the exit and entrance times of their delivery vans to the site, as well as conducts its deliveries outside commuter peaks.
Nonetheless, I have already begun advocating that Amazon be upfront in addressing concerns about traffic impacts, particularly to Copeland Circle and Squire Road. I made clear that Amazon must minimize effects felt on surrounding neighborhoods from tractor trailers entering/departing the site during overnight hours. I have made them aware that traffic sounds from Route 60/Route 1 tend to carry/reverberate in the neighborhoods off of Squire Road and Washington Avenue, and that we have to make sure the traffic patterns for their deliveries are such that there will not be a strain on our quality of life.
Further, I have explained to their traffic point person that during the evening rush hour and on weekends, the queue for the on-ramp to Route 1 north backs up sometimes past the Four Points Sheraton, and that their operations must not contribute to those types of back-ups we already see in our area. Rest assured, I as well as other city officials are working to ensure that the traffic impacts of this project are minimal, and know there will be a Traffic Management Plan that will be issued to ensure this.
Also, I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that Northbridge and Amazon are committing to cleaning the wetlands area that surrounds the property. This includes the portion of the Town Line Brook that is adjacent to the property. Finally, I am cognizant that the Showcase Cinema property is, in a sense, the gateway to Revere – it is the first thing people see entering our city when they get off Route 1 from points north. I do not want people looking down from the Route 1 offramp to just see a vast parking lot with vans. I am elated that from preliminaries, it appears that Northbridge Partners, which owns the property, and Amazon, who they are teaming up with, are looking to add greenery to the site. From an aesthetics perspective, this should be a significant improvement from what you currently see on the highway. I understand that this project is being met with mixed emotions, and there is a certain nostalgia to the fact that there has always been an entertainment venue in this location. However, the more we learn about the planned upgrades for the site, I think this is going to be a positive and become an asset to our neighborhood and community.” Charlie, I don’t know if Kane sends this, here it is in case.