Friday, May 8, 2015

Report: The Sunshine Cinema being shopped as a development site


[Image via Facebook]

The Real Deal has the scoop this morning that the theater on East Houston between Eldridge and Forsythe has quietly been put on the market. Per The Real Deal:

For more than a decade, art-house movie buffs and devotees of late-night cult flicks have lined up outside the theater’s home at 139-143 East Houston Street. The property is now being quietly marketed to developers with an asking price north of $35 million, according to sources.

And...

The cinema has a triple-net lease that runs through 2018, for which it pays an annual rent of about $200,000.

To help offset expenses, ownership sought a full liquor license in 2012. However, CB3 wasn't having it, and would only approve a license for beer and wine.

Read more about the liquor license application in 2012 at The Lo-Down.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do young people come to New York? Honestly, it makes no sense to me. I am 22. I pay all my own bills and have done so since I moved here for college six years ago. I have nowhere near the history that many of the readers and commenters have on this blog, but I care about places like Sunshine just the same. With such a relentless stream of closures and absolutely ridiculous rents (insane for the quality of life), I will be moving to Prague or Berlin indefinitely in the fall. Who can afford it here? Certainly no young person starting out who is serious about creating art and doesn't rely on their parents for funding. New York is a special place, but I fear that so much of what makes it interesting to me will be stripped away because of the expense of living and/or opening a business here. As rent controlled apartment continue to dwindle and become market rate, and once public housing is done away with for good on the LES (it's only a matter of time), there will be very little diversity this far south. It's a shame, too, because I would have loved to develop my art in New York. But why bother when I can live in many European cities for $250 a month, cities that (at least to my eyes) are not on the decline, but are very much having their moment.

Greg Masters said...

What, possibly, could be CB3's objection to allowing them a full liquor license? So ill-advised. This is a treasure for many in the neighborhood and the entire area. It's not about to attract an unruly crowd, just some cinema lovers who'd like a cocktail before or after their flick. It's one of the most comfortable spots to see worthwhile films.

Jeff said...

I never thought I'd see the day when NYC is running out of cinematic alternatives to the suburban multiplex.

Elle Sturm said...

I'm freaking out because of this and the previously reported:
"In 2016, the Marketing Directors projected 17 new condo buildings Downtown with a total of 823 units. In a twist, the location of the buildings will shift to the Lower East Side and East Village from Tribeca and the Financial District."

There is a reason that nobody goes to Tribeca or FiDi. There is a reason that everyone flocks to the village(s) and Brooklyn and places that are the antithesis of Tribeca and Fidi. There's nothing in Tribeca or Fidi.
Manhattan is going to become and island solely purposed for housing the rich. This island is going to end up being 100% condos, grocery stores, expensive clothing boutiques, banks, and drug stores. There won't be ANYTHING ELSE left, and therefore there won't be any reason for anyone who isn't residing in a condo to be here. Manhattan is literally getting turned into suburbia, and I just threw up in my mouth. A lot.

Anonymous said...

I never understood the community board's reluctance on this one. Meanwhile, they will grant full liquor on quiet side streets or OK shitshows like whatever is taking over for Sutra.

Giovanni said...

This is too much. The Sunshine is one of my favorites. I remember the night Tyra Banks was in line buying tickets and everyone was calling her name and saying hi. She was dressed down and trying to blend in but eveyone recognized her. Before going in she headed over to Sugar for a few baked treats to sneak into the movie.

The place always has such good films, and is much more comfy than Angelica which still has those cramped metal seats from the 1960s. I still have a free ticket and coupon for popcorn from the last time I was there when the AC wasn't working. Better use it before it's too late.

Adding another institution to the EV Deathwatch list to visit again befofe it's gone forever. These were all added just in the past week .

EV Deathwatch List
Sunshine Cinema
Cafe Pick Me Up
Raj Mahal

#SaveNYC

Anonymous said...

@ 2:11 how is that turning Manhattan into suburbia? Why is it whenever anybody sees anything they don't like in the city they point at it and yell "suburbia!!!" It makes no fucking sense. Suburbia tends, on average, to be middle class which is a fact conveniently overlooked when people villify suburbia and people from there. It was true that 20 years ago that people from suburbia were "wealthier" on average than people in manhattan, but that is far from the case now. But that gets in the way of trying to paint anyone who hasn't been here for 10+ years (who will automatically be assumed as being from a suburb rather than a borough or another city) as some kind of silver spooned boogeyman. Are the high rises going to be razed and replaced by middle class or even upper middle class houses with yards and picket fences? If not, care to explain how Manhattan is becoming suburbia?

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. You're 22 and you moved here for college six years ago at age 16 - huh? Elaborate on your situation. I'm not saying your full of it but it is highly unusual or at least odd for someone to be on their own and pay their own bills in NYC at age 22. Again, please elaborate

bowboy said...

Movie theaters just don't sell liquor, and it shouldn't start with this place. If an SLA license would solve their problems, none of us would want to go there anymore. I mean, imagine the volume of bros it would take for alcohol to be the answer to their problems. It's not.

nygrump said...

There is a chain of theaters in New England whose schtick is they deliver beer to your seats while watching the film. I think it is pretty lame to have to sell deadly drugs to stay in business.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:34

For the sake of preserving the integrity of my comment and because, you're right, it is odd...

My birthday is in July. (I will be 23.) I am young for my grade and also skipped a grade. I moved here for college right after I turned 17. I went to Columbia for undergrad, worked as a tutor in the city for 10 hours a week making $35 an hour, and ate most food on the dining plan. That is how I survived there.

Although Columbia paid for most of education with grants, I took out the rest in loans. After graduation, I got a boring office job, because I have to survive. And my parents cannot help. I work on my fiction in the evenings usually, or when I have down time at work. Like so many others, between paying my bills and saving for the future, I barely make it each month.

Anonymous said...

I hate to see this place turn into condos. I never had a strong affection for it like I do for the Quad or Cinema Village. Still, you hate to lose a movie theater.

Anonymous said...

@2:11....What a tirade of passion. So glad your a uber-troll specializing in economics and urban studies--and not a picket fence! Your acumen is about dumb as your text. With the ugly architecture and woo hoo every minute, I knew it was you!
Check your facts on income ratio to housing (high-rise glass) dude!! Or, as Blondie would say, "Just go away!"


From suburbia,
Ingrid

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:59, You're right about people here not having the first clue about the suburbs. Their view of "suburbia" is from the 1950s, as is their view of the East Village.

Walter said...

@12:46 PM: I understand how you feel. It's not just becoming unaffordable for newcomers, but also for long-time residents. I'm faced with the prospect of having to leave my rent-stabilized apartment after my next lease, when it hits market-rate. After almost 40 years, I'm now hitting the RS ceiling. Started out paying $ 625 a month in 1977. Pretty much every 2 years my rent increased between 7 - 9.5 percent. Then there were additional increases occasionally for what they call "Capital Improvement". Like if the boiler breaks down and they put in a new, improved one, tenants get charged for it. But it was a great almost 40 years nonetheless. As I'm on Social Security now, I sadly won't be able to keep up with the new rent. SSI gives you a cost of living increase of about 1.4 percent a year, adjusted to the CPI. But to me, from the late 70s to the late 90s, this neighborhood was the center of the universe. Then it started to change, slowly at first but with increasing rapidity. Btw. Both Berlin and Prague are cool cities.Best of luck.

Corey Fontana said...

Dude. You're taking the "suburbia" comment WAY too literally. What the person was trying illustrate is the fact that in Manhattan, many cultural landmarks that have been around for many years are quickly disappearing. Taking their place are condos, sitting on top of Duane Reade's or Bank of America's. It's not so much about the "front yard and white picket fence" or middle class families.. It's about the fact that Manhattan is turning into the same type of abysmal culture hole that exists in suburbia, except what's worse is that it's NOT the middle class populating this new suburbia.. It's uber wealthy individuals buying exorbitantly priced condos (more than half of whom don't even live there- see Tax Haven*), and making it impossible for the little guy to stay in business. So dude, don't take everything you read on Internet blogs so literally, you might hurt yourself.. and if you actually even live in NYC and have half a mind to see what's going on around you.. OPEN YOUR FUCKIN' EYES! Then kiss your city goodbye.

Elle Sturm said...

Hi Ingrid. Excuse me but you don't know a single thing about me - why would you IMMEDIATELY resort to trying to personally insult me as if you've ever had a conversation with me? I've been posting comments here for over two years, but is just recently that I've begun to attach my name to the comments (for ease of referencing), so don't make it seem as though my username carries some grand weight with it that you can use to throw at me. I have no notoriety here - no reputation, nor have I ever insulted another user or reacted so childishly and callously to another user's comment. I've also never gotten responses like this from you to ANY of my anonymous comments, which makes me think that you're just looking to target anything with the name "Elle" attached to it. Please stop. You're being ridiculous. And please note that the word is "you're" not "your."

Since you seem to be such a knowledgeable source on economics and the like, why don't you informatively correct anything I've said that may have been misguided, by providing facts and statistics? Can you manage to calm down and act like an adult for long enough to do that? Jeez. I've commenting here for years and I've never seen anything so absurd and far from productive, or conducive to actual conversation and discussion from another commenter.

Anon 2:59: the reason why it strikes me as reminiscent of suburbia is because, as someone who grew up in suburbia, I remember the constant frustration that came from feeling that there was NOTHING around except for rich peoples' houses, schools, and shopping malls. There was never anything to do. There was never anything going on. Everywhere you looked, it was just houses or stores that were unaffordable. I suppose I'm thinking closer to home with places like Long Island and western jersey suburbs. It just feels as though Manhattan in on track to becoming as close as it possibly can to the place that would be described as "a great place to raise a family" in the traditional sense - like how all our parents voluntarily chose to move from the city to the suburbs to raise a family.

Anonymous said...

12:46, when you're right you're right. I followed a similar path. Went to school, got an office job, finally was able to break free of the job and freelance doing creative work full time. That went on for 20 years and it was great. Now, almost 3 decades after moving here, I'm stuck again in a full-time job just to keep body and soul together and pay the ever-increasing rent and bills.

It hit me at one point, years ago, that the main difference between myself and my seemingly more successful peers was that they had trust funds and I didn't. I don't blame you for looking for greener pastures. If I were 22 today and at the outset of my career, with no bank account or rich parents to fall back on, there's no way I'd see staying in NYC as a reasonable plan. I'd be making the same kind of plans you are.

Gojira said...

Please, Ingrid, stay in suburbia, we have enough rude trolls here as it is. "Just go away!" - yes, you really should take your own advice. Oh, and in your spare time, you may want to take some grammar, writing, and manners classes, because all three of yours are execrable.

Anonymous said...

It is useless to even ponder. CB3 is in cahoots with real estate developers to serve their self interests, and their member investments in real estate in our neighborhood.

There is really no stopping them. And Sadly, because all of CB3 members are just there to line their pockets, it really makes no difference.

Liquor licenses is just one of the tools they use to line their pockets.

Anonymous said...

I apologize. I was trying to be satirical. I am clearly not a comic. It was out of sadness. I applaud you. I do not live in suburbia. I appreciate your words. I have lived in ev many years. It was an attempt to replicate what
I hear from stale conversations. LOOK forward to reading your posts.

chris flash said...

This building needs to be LANDMARKED immediately and/or zoned to allow for ONLY a theater on that parcel -- that will kill the inflated $35 million offering.

As I keep saying, the frenzy of buying properties in "hot" neighborhoods with "edge" is fueled and facilitated by the willingness of the city's Planning Commission to change or modify zoning that allows the overbuilding of "luxury" housing on those parcels.

If not for inherent corruption, the city could stop this shit by NOT allowing changes in zoning and by landmarking architecturally significant structures.

Is NYC FUCKED or what????

Anonymous said...

@Walter 6:21pm: If you're old enough to be getting social security, you should be old enough to perhaps get your rent capped by the SCRIE program (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption). PLEASE look into it - just google "SCRIE NYC" and you will get the details.

SCRIE used to have an extremely low income limit, but they raised the income level a few years ago.

I hope you can stay in your home!

Anonymous said...

CB3 probably denied the license as Sunshine is owned by Mark Cuban and he did not come on down and schmooze them. And financially due to Netflix Hulu etc. art house theaters are not doing well.

IzF said...

Hey, 3:32pm:
"...it is highly unusual or at least odd for someone to be on their own and pay their own bills in NYC at age 22."
Are you serious????

Anonymous said...

I remember when this site was a warehouse storing flour for the restaurant trade. Houston was grimy most of the block vacant small pet store down the block only business really was the potato knish spot. Things change and new ideas take root it would be a loss to see this "Kino" lost but another location could be possible...the ludicrous notion of Land-marking private property to prevent a sale is harmful to the Landmark law and its true intentions. Stagnation will truly screw a city it may not long be a cinema but it will not be a flour bag depository again either.

RJJNY said...

Useless trivia: Salt N Pepa shot a video in there back when it was still derelict https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gocu9N6k6as

bayou said...

Actually I thought Anon 12:46 made a thoughtful argument and is a promising representation of the generation about whom we think - often correctly - offer little to the neighborhood.

My sole question for 12:46 is why not move to bushwick or bed stuy where creativity is flourishing among young people

Don't worry about the math or how a stranger pays bills - you can't count other people's money.

Gojira said...

"Land-marking private property to prevent a sale is harmful to the Landmark law and its true intentions" - and yet, Anon. 6:44, the original McKim, Mead and White Penn Station, the destruction of which in 1963 engendered that Landmark law, was privately owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Empire State building is privately owned - if it was not already landmarked and the trust that currently owns it decided to demolish it and build something bigger, you would think attempts to landmark it would be "harmful to the Landmark law and its true intentions"? Your statement sounds pretty absurd, don'tcha think?

Anonymous said...

It's true that over-extending the reach of landmarking will undermine it. Don't think that real estate developers don't know this too. I'm sure they promote movements, such landmarking something like the Sunshine Cinema, just to weaken the law over time.

Anonymous said...

@ Walter, even if you don't qualify for SCRIE, unless you make more than $175,000/yr, your rent isn't going up more than the regular Rent Stabilized amounts mandated annually by the Rent Guidelines Board. As long as your rent does not exceed $2500 AND you make more than $175,000 you're safe. Now the next poor slob to move into your apartment? Well... he's pretty much fucked.

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to see the original Penn Station but am also aware that had it been landmarked, Madison Square Garden would never have come into existence and wasn't the station torn down because it could not handle the number of commuters who used it daily to travel in from the outer areas to NYC? Cannot imagine how it would be able to handle todays numbers of commuters (or maybe you prefer they all use cars to come into the city?)

Anonymous said...

You don't have to leave. The ceiling for rent stabilization is for a *new* tenant who starts above $2500/month, not for a not for a current tenant who started below then had his rent go above $2500/month. I know this because I myself am rent stabilized and my rent went just above the cutoff, but since I was there a long before it reached that cutoff, I am OK.

Anonymous said...

If this place closes, this is going to suck..

Gojira said...

Anon. 5:29 - oh my God, no Madison Square Garden? However would the city have survived without a hideous sports arena that looks like a squashed cupcake built atop the crazy maze that is the current Penn Station? FYI, the old Penn was one of the city's great gateways; one city block wide and two blocks long, it would have been able to handle today's crowds with ease; just go online and look at some interior photos of the place. It was torn down because Penn RR decided that the age of train travel was over, and that cars would be the transportation of the future; quite short-sighted, given that today more than half a million people pass through the station every day, and it's the busiest rail hub in North America. And given how many truly ancient, historic buildings the Landmarks Destruction Committee declines to consider (35 Cooper Square, anyone?), I sincerely doubt landmarking Sunshine would "dilute" the law any more than it already is, thanks to the fact that the people taxed with saving our architectural heritage are more often than not in league with developers, and allow it to be eradicated.

Anonymous said...

Gojira I refer you to Wiki "The cost of maintaining the old structure had become prohibitive, so it was considered easier to demolish the old Pennsylvania Station by 1963 and replace it with Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden." "The question of whether it made sense to preserve a building, intended to be a cost-effective and functional piece of the city's infrastructure, simply as a monument to the past was raised in defense of the plans to demolish it." Yes what is needed is another money pit just like Amtrak, USPS, etc. Instead "In exchange for the air rights, the Pennsylvania Railroad would get a brand-new, air-conditioned, smaller station completely below street level at no cost, and a 25 percent stake in the new Madison Square Garden Complex." I do agree that they could have come up with a better design but for the 60's this was style. Grand Central was only saved because of efforts on the part of people like Onassis (yes, the mega rich came to the rescue just like they are doing with 190 Bway.)

Anonymous said...

Walter Im not sure that you are aware but the 2500 threshold for deregulation only applies when the current tenant moves out or dies.

You will stay stabilized as long as you live there

Anonymous said...

That is why SO important to look forward to Penn Station 2023!
http://www.rpa.org/library/pdf/RPA-MAS-Penn-2023.pdf

Anonymous said...

Gojira
"the ludicrous notion of Land-marking private property to prevent a sale is harmful to the Landmark law and its true intentions." Yes just to prevent a sale is the heart of the matter. If this building has historical value (I doubt) then it should be presented to the committee. The taking of private property and yes by Land marking it you are restricting the property owner a taking of sorts. I find people always advocating this approach often do not have property themselves much the less a pot to pee in.

bowboy said...

"art house theaters are not doing well."
-- and yet just on this stretch we have Film Forum, Angelica, Anthology Film Archives, and Sunshine. So, All Evidence to the Contrary.

And, Penn Station cost too much to fix because business declined. That would not be the case today. "short-sighted" is the correct answer.

And the 3 previous MSGs were much, much better -- this one needs to be torn down and moved. It's hideous.

Anonymous said...

Now the Destruction of any of the Five Loews depression era theaters known as the Wonder Theaters that would be a crime.

Anonymous said...

Another neighborhood jewel going the way of the dinosaur.... I'm so GLAD this is happening.

besides.. Old New York was smelly, and sticky, and the people there we're ugly and poor and they had no taste (m'god they dont even like Beyonce or Paris Hilton???).

I really really really hope they erect a brand new condo high rise in it's place and name it SUNSHINE! I would SO move in to that with my super-entitlement complex funded by my rich daddy's trustfund, my Prada bag and my rage-inducing toy Yorkie yappy dog. ta ta native NYers! you're not cool enough to live here anymore.