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.
139-143 East Houston Street
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.