More than 80 years after Walter Reade started his media empire in Asbury Park, The ShowRoom, Asbury Park’s art house cinema, is ushering in a new era of movie-going in the city. The independently owned and operated movie theater, which first opened in April 2009, will begin construction on a new, multi-level cinema located at 707 Cookman Ave. at the beginning of January 2012.

The move is a natural progression for The ShowRoom’s Michael Sodano and Nancy Sabino, who have filled an entertainment void in Asbury Park’s diverse and vibrant cultural scene; before The ShowRoom opened, the city went more than three decades without a dedicated venue to showcase film.

Since opening The ShowRoom, Sodano and Sabino have provided a non-stop roster of award-winning films, lecture series, author events and multi-media performances – drawing audiences from around the New York Metropolitan area to Asbury Park. Most recently, a screening of the newly released “Margin Call” brought a moviegoer to the city who hadn’t visited Asbury Park in 10 years. Similar stories abound among Sodano and Sabino’s audience.

“Nancy and I are committed to the development and expansion of entertainment in Asbury Park,” commented Michael Sodano, owner of The ShowRoom. “During the last two and a half years, we have grown and evolved with the city, and consider ourselves part of its cultural fabric. The ShowRoom will never waiver in its mission of providing relevant and provocative entertainment for area moviegoers. We understand our audience and recognize this expansion as a natural evolution for The ShowRoom.”

The ShowRoom’s new home will include a 75- and 30- seat theater on the ground level, and a 15-seat screening area on the second floor overlooking Cookman Ave. The upstairs will also be used as a lounge and reception area for parties, special events and more.

Like many art house theaters, The ShowRoom’s personalized movie-going experience is rooted in its mission-based, community-driven philosophy. Current partnerships with Brookdale Community College, Asbury Park Film Initiative, Hope Academy Charter School, ArtsCAP and more will only be strengthened by the entertainment capabilities at the new space.

The ShowRoom will move to 707 Cookman Ave. in April 2012. In the interim, Sodano and Sabino will continue to screen a full movie schedule at The ShowRoom’s current location, 708 Cookman Ave. To learn more about The ShowRoom, please visit TheShowRoomAP.com or call 732-502-0472.