Rochester's Lakeshore Drive-in Theatre May Get New Life

Rochester's Lakeshore Drive-in Theatre May Get New Life

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published January 15, 2014 and can be found here.

The marquee sign at the former Lakeshore Drive-in Theatre in Greece, NY. [PHOTO:]

   Last month RocSubway     Facebook    fans brought us rumors of a new grocery store for downtown Rochester (those rumors turned out to be true). Now comes an equally exciting rumor from RocSubway that has also checked out. John Tachin, owner of Mr. Dominic's restaurant in Charlotte has purchased the former Lakeshore Drive-In site and is considering plans to reopen it as a drive in movie theater...

The theater was demolished in 1993 but now developer John Tachin is exploring the possibility of rebuilding it. [PHOTO:]

    The Lakeshore Drive-in

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opened on July 1, 1950 and was a popular destination among families and teenage, eh hem, sweethearts, until its final season in 1992.

National Amusements of Dedham, MA held on to the property until late last year. They listed the 18 acre parcel at     207 Ling Road

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for $595,000 and John Tachin jumped on it.

The old theater had one screen with space for 480 cars. [PHOTO:]

   "I used to go there all the time as a kid. Such good times. It was the last one in Rochester when it closed up," John told me in a phone interview. Today, John takes his own kids out to     Vintage Drive In

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in Avon for the same experience.

In addition to owning     Mr. Dominic's restaurant

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which he purchased from his father-in-law, Dominic Pane, a few years ago, John also owns Jetset Development Inc. Jetset would handle the construction and another company would be brought in to manage the theater's operations.

John has already had the land surveyed and he imagines a new theater and concession building would be laid out similar to the original. He estimates construction will cost somewhere around $1.3 Million.

Lakeshore opened on July 1, 1950 and closed after the 1992 season. The last movie shown was a double feature; 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Unlawful Entry.' [PHOTO:]

   Of course, drive-ins are a seasonal business around these parts, so John is also considering adding an indoor theater and game arcade to make it a year-round business.

When would it open?! Let's just say opening night would probably not happen in 2014. John says everyone he's talked so far has responded very positively to the idea, but it's still too soon to say whether or not the movie business would be a sustainable one. He's doing his homework first and not rushing into it quite yet. (To be fair, we caught wind of his plans way before he had intended to share them.)

This is where the big screen used to be. A forest has sprung up in its place over the last 20 years. [PHOTO:]

   Over the past twenty years nature has reclaimed much of the grounds. These photos were taken just yesterday. The shot above shows where the big screen used to be. Below, a makeshift skatepark has been built in place of the concession stand. And the tile floor of the restroom is still mostly intact.

Where the concession stand used to be - a makeshift skatepark has been built by the local kids. [PHOTO:]

   Another idea he's exploring for the property is to use it as overflow parking for the new marina development at the Port of Rochester. He thinks an adjacent railroad right-of-way could be used to shuttle people between the parking lot and the port.

The last surviving remnant of the old theater is this tiled bathroom floor. [PHOTO:]

   John admits the drive-in concept is much more appealing to him. Especially since he learned that his father, John Tachin Sr. (88) was the mason who built the original foundations for the old movie screen and concession stand sixty-five years ago. And that is something he only learned after buying the property. Perhaps this is destiny?    * * *

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA