Rendering by Real Estate Arts via New York Times.
As planned, the beloved Sunshine Cinema‘s screens went dark for good Sunday night in fittingly dramatic fashion, after a 10:15 showing of “Darkest Hour.” The movie theater, which served as a cultural touchstone in the rapidly changing Lower East Side neighborhood for its offerings of independent and foreign films since 2001, will be demolished and replaced by a 65,000-square-foot nine-story office building, according to East End Capital, who, with K Property Group purchased the 30,000-square-foot building for $31.5 million last year. The New York Times recently showed new renderings of the theater’s replacement-to-be.
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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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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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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.
More details ahead