- Jan. 16, 2014
-- Dennis Gralla, Mahwah (http://www.northjersey.com/
mahwah) resident and principal at Cresa, a tenant representation commercial real estate firm, was granted the Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck) Chamber of Commerce President’s Award for his role in revitalizing Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck) Cinemas. The theater has been a staple in the township for many years, and by finding a committed operator for the space, Gralla was able to help rescue it from certain demise.
Larry Bauer, president of the Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck) Chamber of Commerce, lauded Gralla’s accomplishments via email, saying, "We would like others in real estate, especially here in Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck), to follow the examples set by Dennis as well as Mr. Wright Palmer and the Beekman Estates in doing what is correct and beneficial for business and community."
A former Teaneck
resident himself, Gralla has practiced commercial real estate and represented tenants since 1982. Throughout his endeavors and experiences as a corporate tenant representative, he said he had never encountered a project quite like this.
"First of all, the theater could not re-open in its former condition," said Gralla. "All the equipment had to be converted to digital, which was a major financial undertaking. It also needed a substantial renovation. The existing ownership rose to the occasion and worked together with the new operator to make it happen."
Not expecting to be honored for the project, Gralla also mentioned that it felt great to be recognized for achieving his personal goal of getting the theater re-opened and helping merchants on Cedar Lane rebound.
"Having been raised and having spent my childhood in Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/teaneck
), I made this project a personal challenge," he said. "When the past operator closed his doors unexpectedly and before his lease expired, I saw an opportunity for having the facility upgraded by finding an operator willing to make a long-term commitment. The entire Cedar Lane downtown business district took a financial hit when the theater ceased operations. I met with a large assembly of concerned residents in Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck) on Dec. 12, 2012, and assured them at the time that I would not quit until I had explored all possibilities. After finding and meeting with operator Matthew Latten, there was no question that he was the perfect fit."
Gralla was able to help deliver a fully-upgraded movie theater for the Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck) community. The theater was granted permission to open for the Teaneck (http://www.northjersey.com/
teaneck) Film Festival, a non-profit event. Latten held its opening on Friday, Dec. 20.