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Lyric 3 Cinema adds luxury to viewing

NEW ULM — Last June, the New Ulm movie theatre at German Street and Center became the Lyric 3 Cinemas and underwent weeks of exterior and interior renovations.

The change of name and design of the building was prompted by a change in ownership with Phoenix Theatre Entertainment, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based theatre management group. President of the company Phil Zacheretti said they own 13 theatres across 10 states.

Zacheretti said his company operates several types of theatres, but they do specialize in taking and restoring neglected theatres. In the case of the New Ulm theatre, nearly the entire building was renovated.

“The bones of the building were pretty good,” Zacheretti said, “but everything else changed.”

The exterior of the building was completely redone with new signage and a new color scheme. Inside saw major changes. Zacheretti said they aimed to give the theatre a modern look with a new lobby. The carpeting, the concessions and the bathrooms were redone.

The building was also made compliant with American Disabilities Act (ADA). The building was constructed before ADA laws were put into effect and were grandfathered in. The renovation gave the theatre a chance to be accessible to all users.

Zacheretti said the biggest change to the theatre was the furniture update. Brand new reclining seats were installed in the movie theatre. Reclining seats are the latest innovation at movie theatres.

Zacheretti said when people come to the movie, they will be sitting for nearly two hours so it should be a comfortable seat. The Lyric 3 installed the seat style available in the country, capable of reclining back further than most, which is great for the taller patrons.

Zacheretti said they went with a dark red seat rather than standard black because the red had a more regal look and they are easier to find in the dark.

The only drawback to the new seating is they take up more space, meaning less available seating. Zacheretti believed the change was worth it. While shows may sell out faster, the audiences will appreciate the experience more when they visit.

With all the changes made to the theatre in the last year it is one of the most up-to-date theatres in the area.

“This theatre is in as good a shape as any,” Zacheretti said.

Another benefit is most of the staff from when the theatre was an AMC theatre are still working with the theatre now that it is a Lyric 3. The theatre currently has eight employees but will increase to 10 to 12 during the summer season.

“What a great crew and friendly,” Zacheretti said. “They know what they are doing and the like what they do. They appreciated the upgrades. When we told them what we were doing, they were ecstatic.”

This is not the first movie theatre named “Lyric” to operate in downtown New Ulm. In 1930, a movie theatre named Lyric began operating at 9 S. Minnesota St. It closed in 1955 and the marquee was removed. The name Lyric was specifically chosen to recognized New Ulm’s history.

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