Purchase Of Former Reel Deal Theater Closed Monday

New owners of the former Reel Deel Theater, Sammi Owens and Allen Saenz in the ticket booth Tuesday. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com


There was great excitement at the former Reel Deal Theater Tuesday as Allan Saenz and Sammi Owens announced that their purchase of the theater has closed. Saenz is the owner of Los Alamos Network.

“We now own the building. The purchase closed Monday,” Saenz said.

Owens said she and Saenz went 50/50 and started an LLC called LA Angels Investment Co. to buy the building.

“ I had been working with people for a long time because I wanted to bring the movie theater back and I had talked to tons of people in the county who were willing to put up $10,000 or $15,000. But nobody could put up a big chunk of cash – it was going to be lots of little people,” Owens said. “I’m retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory and I’ve been here since 1985. I wanted a good place to hang out and not just stay at home. There are just not a lot of non-alcohol centered gathering places. I really wanted to get the movie theater back. I miss the bowling alley. I miss all those things we’ve lost. When Allan said he wanted to turn it into. SALA, an events center, I was so on board with that.”

Saenz said buying the building was all a dream but now it’s real. The reopening of the building as the SALA Events Center is expected to have a phased approach. He said more information about the project will be provided as it moves along. Meanwhile, Owens, a master gardener, is ready to tackle the landscaping around the building, which is something she really enjoys.

The Los Alamos Reporter asked the big question everyone has had since talk began about the purchase of the building – what is the plan in terms of showing movies.

“My number one interested coming in was the movie theater, so I want movies to be shown. Not necessarily a lot of the newer, fancy high-dollar ones, because I used to come to those and the first couple of showings were full and towards the end of the required length of the movie’s run, the shows were pretty empty. We are going to try to show new release movies and more old movies,” Owens said.

Saenz said he is currently working with Hollywood to see how the theater can continue to show new movies by partnering with the movie business to have one of the theaters dedicated for that purpose.

“We want to continue to show new movies in one of the theaters and have options to extend that to two or three rooms,” Saenz said. “We’ll see how flexible they are in working with us”.

Owens said movies are the part of the plan that was her first interest.

“The second thing that’s even stronger, is SALA as a community gathering place that’s flexible and attractive and good for young and old,” Owens said. “It all depends on the negotiations because we cannot be locked into the movie theater concept, or we won’t be able to do all the other things we want to do. Every time I talk with Allan and project manager Eric Burnside, I am more excited about the infinite possibilities that lie ahead.”

Saenz thanked Karen Easton and Century Bank for all their assistance with the purchase.