139-143 East Houston Street

Lower East Side, New Developments

landmark sunshine cinema, lower east side theater

Photo of the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, courtesy of Wikimedia

Plans to demolish the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, a staple of the Lower East Side since 1909, were filed with the city Wednesday. Although the new owners of the historic theater, East End Capital and K Property Group, planned in May to redevelop the space as a mixed-use building with retail and office space, the developers, who paid about $35 million for the site, have changed their mind, the Lo-Down reports. The demolition application calls for a “full demolition of a 3-story commercial building.” The iconic cinema’s doors will close for good in January 2018, when its lease expires.

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Lower East Side, New Developments

Lower East Side, Sunshine Cinema, Landmark Theatres

Photo via East End Capital

The Lower East Side will be losing a neighborhood fixture next year. Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema at 139-143 East Houston Street will be closing its doors when its lease expires in January 2018, to make way for a new mixed-use development with retail and office space. As the Post reports, the theater, which was built in 1889 and first opened in 1909 as the Houston Hippodrome, was sold for $31.5 million to developers East End Capital and K Property Group.

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Lower East Side, New Developments

Sunshine Cinema, Landmark Theatres, Lower East Side, Yiddish Rialto

Image via Cinema Treasures

The Sunshine Cinema at 139-143 East Houston Street has been a neighborhood staple since it was built in 1898, but that soon may change, according to The Real Deal. First serving as an anchor for the Lower East Side’s Yiddish theater community, and now as a favorite spot for “art-house movie buffs and devotees of late-night cult flicks,” the theater is now being shopped around to developers for upwards of $35 million.

This comes on the heels of a 2012 request by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner of L.A.-based Landmark Theatres, the cinema’s operator, for a liquor license to turn the location into a dinner-and-drinks theater like Williamsburg’s Nitehawk Cinema. Community Board 3, however, denied the application, despite Landmark’s claims that they couldn’t maintain the Sunshine due to rising rents.

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