Good news for theater goers in Westchester.
The Larchmont Playhouse, which closed in September after an 86-year run has been bought by Charles Cohen of New York-based Cohen Media Group and Cohen Brothers Realty Corp.
After much debate about its future -- and a grassroots effort by area residents to save it -- Cohen will keep it as a movie theater, focusing on foreign, independent and art-house films.
Cohen purchased the three-screen theater from IP UTP Larchmont LLC after potential deals with a number of suitors fell through.
The theater, at 1975 Palmer Avenue, was owned at one point by Regal Cinemas but was put up for sale in April with a $1.5 million asking price.
Cohen, who has had experience revitalizing other theaters -- he was behind the revitalization of the Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village and oversaw the renovation of New York’s Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International, among other projects -- plans an 18-month renovation and redesign of the playhouse by early 2018.
The billionaire real estate developer and noted film buff said he plans to transform the Larchmont Playhouse into one of the finest art house/repertory theaters in the Northeast, featuring classic, foreign and independent films.
“The audiences for independent and classic films are underserved here in New York and largely throughout the country due to the steady decline in the number of screens as well as the aging infrastructure of the theaters that serve serious cinema lovers,” he said.
“I’m hopeful that my efforts to buy and upgrade movie houses of historical importance will have a positive impact in helping to begin to reverse that downward trend.”
No financial details on the acquisition were released. Barry Synnott of Coldwell Banker Moves represented the seller in the transaction.
In an email, Betsy Bradley and Ellen Zuckert, the co-chairs of the group that had worked on saving the theater, said that they “are thrilled that Charles Cohen has purchased the theater and will bring movies back to the community.”
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