Flix Brewhouse signs on for Carmel theater-microbrewery

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Texas-based Flix Brewhouse plans to open a combination movie theater-microbrewery next year in Carmel’s beleaguered Merchants’ Square shopping center.

Landlord Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust announced the lease deal for the former Hobby Lobby space Wednesday. (Kudos to my colleague Scott Olson, who reported in May that Flix was eyeing the Indianapolis market.)

Flix features first-run films, seat-side dining and an on-site microbrewery—an amenity it says sets it apart from any other movie theater in the world. Its dining rooms have stadium seating with movable table tops, plus high-definition digital projection and sound.

Plans call for eight screens and 12 Flix-brewed beers (plus an array of other local suds) in Carmel. Wine also is available. The lobby/bar will be open to the public, no movie tickets required.

CEO Allan Reagan said the dining menu will be tailored to the Carmel area.

The original Flix in Round Rock, Texas, is the only location now, but the company plans to open in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2014.

Construction in Carmel is expected to begin this year, as the 37,000-square-foot former Hobby Lobby store undergoes a makeover. The Indiana theater is slated to open next fall.

"Flix Brewhouse will bring a level of entertainment currently not offered in the area and will further solidify the importance of Merchants' Square in the marketplace," said Dennis Gershenson, president and CEO of the shopping center owner, in a news release.

In the release, Ramco-Gershenson touted recent tenant additions including Teddy’s Burger Joint, Goldfish Swim Academy and Salon Lofts.

Merchants’ Square—built in 1970 as a Target-anchored, enclosed mall redeveloped into an open-air center in the mid-1990s—has been riddled with vacancies in recent years.

Mayor Jim Brainard praised the impending arrival, saying Flix will “add to the vibrancy taking place there as various restaurants and retail options locate in that commercial area” near heavily traveled 116th Street and Keystone Parkway.

“The central placement and easy access … makes this a perfect location for this venue that is sure to attract a wider audience from area communities," Brainard said in a prepared statement.

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