Sky Cinemas Closes

Dripping Springs theatre forced out over rent during shutdown

It was inevitable but still tragic that cinemas - among the first businesses to close and the most complicated to reopen in the coronavirus pandemic - would suffer the same permanent closures as any other business. Now the Austin area has its first casualty: Sky Cinemas in Dripping Springs.

Opened in 2018 by Violet Crown cinema chain co-founder Bill Banowsky, the 14-screen theatre at Belterra Village (a development originally constructed by Endeavor Real Estate Group but sold in 2019 to Danly Properties) was intended to bring the art house and indie film scene of Central Austin to the dormitory communities surrounding the city.

Along with all other cinemas, the location closed in mid-March as a preventative measure against potential COVID-19 infections. Like most cinemas, Sky stayed closed when Gov. Greg Abbott announced that theatres could reopen, but only if they operated at an economically nonviable 25% capacity, and with no guarantees that they could ensure the health safety of their customers and staff.

However, with no revenue coming in, and no clear end date to the current shuttering, the theatre was unable to pay its rent. Attempts to negotiate some deal with the property owners to allow them to stay, and re-open when conditions were suitable, fell through. According the Sky Cinema, their lease was terminated, and the owners are looking for a new tenant to take the building over as a working cinema.

Here's the full statement from the management.

We regret to announce that Sky Cinemas has closed permanently.

We closed our business temporarily on March 18, 2020, the day a Hays County court issued an order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 persons. We supported that order as we support all efforts to manage this public health crisis.

We had eagerly looked forward to the day when we could safely re-open Sky Cinemas. Sadly, that day will not come. With our business closed due to COVID and no revenue coming in, we were unable to pay our rent. We attempted to reach an arrangement with our landlord that would allow us to stay, but we failed to do so, and our lease was terminated.

We love Dripping Springs, and are proud of what we built with this community. We set out to develop the finest family cinema ever created. We sought to establish a place where Dripping Springs’ families would come together as a community. Our cinema became what we hoped it would.

The landlord is now looking for a replacement cinema operator. We hope that the new operator will build upon what we started and will continue to deliver to Dripping Springs the level of cinema experience it deserves.

And last but not least, we are grateful to our Sky Cinemas team members. These wonderful people are passionate about this community and worked hard every day to deliver the finest cinema experience to everyone who walked through our doors.

Thank you for your support, Dripping Springs. We will miss you. We are proud to have been your cinema.

Stay safe Dripping Springs,

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