Rumor: Sunshine Cinema to Sunset, as $31.5M Contract Nears Closing

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 at 5:00 am by

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Two years after word first circulated that the Sunshine Cinema at 139-143 East Houston was being shopped on the market for $35 million, a buyer is allegedly under contract.

The news arrives a few months after the president of Landmark Theaters, which operates the Sunshine, noted that transforming a theater into a high rise is no easy task. “It would take years for anyone who’s going to pay the kind of money they’re looking for to demolish [the building] and construct something,” he said. “At this point I don’t see any imminent danger of us leaving the property.”

Nevertheless, there is some local chatter that a buyer is indeed aboard.

Bobby Weiss over at the Lower East Side blog hears word that the property is currently under contract. This following a year where several potential deals purportedly fall through.

“The brokerage community is buzzing about this deal that has been a long time coming,” he notes. There is further speculation that Jonathon Yormak, founder and Managing Principal of East End Capital, is the buyer with a purported price tag of roughly $31.5 million. But nothing is confirmed just yet.

The parcels comprising 139-143 East Houston altogether carry roughly 44,500 buildable square-feet, or 56,000 square-feet with the inclusionary housing bonus.

Tzipporah Wexler, Founder and Managing Principal of Grand Success Realty, is the exclusive broker behind the Sunshine Cinema.

Landmark Theaters, operator of the Sunshine, was previously struggling to keep up with maintaining this location. Mainly due to the rising rents. That was the impetus behind a liquor license application four years ago to convert the movie house into a dining destination much like Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg. Those plans were nixed by Community Board 3, which was hesitant to approve a full liquor license for such a large location.

Their lease goes through 2018.

The elegant theather building at 139-143 East Houston was built in 1898.

Poignant post-script: the slogan currently holding court on the theater marquee reads, “Wake up, time to die.”

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