Enzian explores plans to expand

Maitland's Enzian Theater has plans to nearly triple in size by 2015.

Maitland's Enzian Theater has plans to nearly triple in size by 2015.

Sarah Wilson

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The Enzian Theater in Maitland is pulling back the curtain this week and showing the public its proposed expansion plans that could nearly triple it in size and add two additional screens.

Central Florida’s only non-profit, full-time alternative theater is presenting preliminary plans to the city of Maitland’s Development Review Committee on Thursday that would add an additional 19,500 square feet to the existing 7,150-square-foot cinema and bar space.

Enzian’s Executive Vice President Elizabeth Tiedtke said the expansion is something the Theater’s been dreaming of for nearly 15 years – the addition of new theaters allowing them to increase showings and community programming on site – and could finally become a reality in 2015.

“It’s something we’ve finally really gotten into the past year, year and a half, and now we’re really excited to start to turn it from a dream into a reality,” she said.

The current plans add two new theaters – one with 80 seats, the other with 50 – while keeping the existing 200-seat venue intact. The plans also add a second kitchen, interior box office, new valet parking, and additional bathrooms. In total, Tiedtke said the additions are estimated to cost $6 million, which will be funded by community donors.

“Right now we’re bursting at the seams,” Tiedtke said. “We’ll be able to even [our programing] all out with the two additional screens.”

Maitland Community Development Director Dick Wells said the meeting on Thursday is for exploratory purposes to see how the plans line up with Maitland’s development codes and ideals. He said no development applications have been filed yet for the project. Public comment will be taken after the plans are presented during the meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

Tiedtke said she hopes to get the ball rolling toward construction after this week’s meeting and into early 2014. The goal, she said, is to break ground in April and have the expansion complete by the annual Florida Film Festival to be hosted there in spring 2015.

In 2008, the theater expanded its dining options with installation of the popular dinner and drinks destination, Eden Bar. And more recently earlier this year, overhauled the interior of its current theater by refurbishing its dine-in seating area. Tiedtke said current operations would continue as normal during the proposed construction, as all additions wrap around the back of the building, leaving the existing areas untouched.