Coming attractions for the Del Mar area include a new Lot luxury cinema experience. The new movie theater and dine-in restaurant is slated to open in March 2019 in the Del Mar Shopping Center, home to Gelson’s Market on Via de la Valle.The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board reviewed and approved the new project at its May 24 meeting, a 28,000-square-foot contemporary design with eight theaters of around 50 luxury theater recliner seats each that allow for in-theater dining.
Adolfo Fastlicht, the CEO of the Lot, was an original partner in the Cinepolis theaters which opened in Carmel Valley’s Del Mar Highlands Town Center in 2010. After leaving Cinepolis, he started his own company and opened the first Lot in La Jolla in 2015. He has since opened locations in Point Loma’s Liberty Station and Fashion Island in Newport Beach.
In addition to a cinema and restaurant, The Lot also bills itself as a lifestyle entertainment venue, a social hub with live music and events like Girls Night Out every Thursday and Taco Tuesday buffets —one location hosted a UEFA Champions League finals watch party last week. The restaurant serves up craft coffee, spirits and wines, salads, flatbreads and shareable plates, as well as movie fare like popcorn flavors of butter, chili, caramel, salt and vinegar, and zebra, kernels coated in a mix of chocolates.
The vacant lot for the new Lot has been sitting empty at the shopping center for over 20 years. According to Fastlicht, the space has been graded and impacted but never developed— it was originally proposed to be a hardware store and then a department store like Stein Mart.
“It was waiting for us,” Fastlicht said.
Fastlicht said he hopes the movie theater will fill a niche that has been missing since the Ultra Star at Flower Hill Promenade closed in 2011, replaced by Whole Foods.
Board member Shreya Shah Sasaki asked how the modern design of the new theater building will fit with the rest of the plaza as it is older— Fastlicht said he thinks that The Lot could be a catalyst toward making some aesthetic improvements at the center.
“I think it would be an opportunity to start some revitalization of that shopping center,” agreed board member Allen Kashani.