Hopeful Update on the Playhouse:
We’ve got some news about the Larchmont Playhouse! A Bronxville resident has signed a contract to buy and renovate the theater (with the help of community donations) and add office space and a sound studio in the back. There are several contingencies — including one that involves Regal Entertainment — so it’s not quite a done deal. But we are cautiously optimistic that the theater will reopen this year.
Michael DiCosimo, a longtime professional focusing on sound in film and theaters, has signed a contract to purchase the movie theater. Michael, who is very community-minded, plans to own the building, operate the three theaters and build his offices and a studio in the back of the theater (on the part of the property on North Avenue). We are so fortunate and grateful that Michael wants to move his company to Larchmont, reopen and upgrade the Playhouse, and work to create both an entertainment and community hub.
Michael’s plan is to make the needed repairs to the building and add state of the art projection and sound to the three theaters. And Michael hopes that our community will support him by donating – through the 501(c)(3) we formed this summer – to the theater for things like new seats, an updated lobby area and potentially a wine bar/café. (We have retained a non-profit lawyer who will be drafting an agreement that, among other things, will specify that these donations are tax deductible, will set up an advisory board to have some input into programming, and will, overall, protect our donations and our ability to preserve the theater).
Before we can celebrate, however, the seller (a developer in Texas) needs to eliminate a restrictive clause that was filed as a corollary to the deed in 2015. That clause permits Regal Entertainment, the prior owner of the Playhouse and the current owner of New Roc, to limit the showing of first-run movies, prevent us from changing the seats and even, strangely enough, to allow moviegoers to bring pillows and blankets in the theater (among many other restrictions). Michael DiCosimo has asked the seller and Regal to remove this clause, and we are waiting to see if they will.
In addition, the typical due diligence period on the contract is in process and will end on January 16, 2017. Once all the research on the building’s condition and title to the property is complete to the satisfaction of Michael Di Cosimo, a closing will be scheduled.
Once the closing takes place we will begin to collect on pledges. We will send out an email, post on Facebook and otherwise get the word out just as soon as we know.
In the meantime, we are cautiously optimistic that movies will again play in town.
All our best for a healthy and happy year in 2017!
Elizabeth Bradley and Ellen Zuckert