Port’s Soundview Cinemas to close in September

Robert Pelaez
Port Washington's Soundview Cinemas will permanently close on Sept. 8. (Photo by Rose Weldon)

After more than eight years of serving the Port Washington community, Soundview Cinemas will be closing its doors in September.

Owner Jordan Desner, in an interview with Blank Slate Media Wednesday, said the Port Washington theater suffered from the loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After reopening the theater in late June, Desner said, underwhelming attendance over the past month contributed to the decision to shut down next month.

“Financially, it just doesn’t make sense for us,” Desner said. “The theater, unfortunately, has not really gotten tremendous support since we’ve been back open. It hasn’t really been what we expected.”

Desner said he is “cautiously optimistic” that he will be able to sell the property prior to the Sept. 8 deadline and added that he hopes something happens “very quickly.” Any agreement, he said, would be subject to landlord approval.

Florida-based PEBB Enterprises and New York-based Sagamore Hill Partners announced that they had closed on a purchase of Soundview Marketplace, where the theater is located, earlier this year. The two companies purchased the 188,109-square-foot shopping center from LBUBS 2007-C7 Shore Road LLC through commercial real estate company Transwestern, with the deal coming to fruition on Dec. 18 for an undisclosed price. A commercial listing shows the starting bid as $3 million.

Efforts to reach a representative from PEBB for comment on the matter were unavailing.

Desner said he hopes that a new tenant would retain the spot as a movie theater but noted that he is unsure if PEBB would want to have another movie house in that location. Despite the coronavirus being a main catalyst for Soundview’s impending closure, Desner said, he has enjoyed serving the Port Washington community and the Town of North Hempstead since opening in April 2013.

“We loved serving the town for these past eight years and we appreciate the entire community,” Desner said. “We hope that it stays a theater for the town and we’re trying to sell it to keep it as a theater.”

The news comes nearly a year after Great Neck’s Squire Cinemas announced it would be shutting down following 85 years of operation in September 2020.

While the coronavirus pandemic also led to the Squire’s shuttering, during the crisis the theater hosted online movie screenings and donated popcorn to people who worked at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. The Squire had also partnered with the Gold Coast Arts Center for sneak previews of independent and foreign films and Q & A sessions with filmmakers throughout the years.

“It is a shocking sight to see the last movie theater in town close their doors after 85 years in the community,” Great Neck Business Improvement District Vice President Jay Corn said last year.

The Squire was converted into a triplex in the early 1980s, according to the CinemaTreasures website.  The theater had seven screens by 1998 when it was acquired by Clearview Cinemas.

After ownership was transferred to Bow Tie Cinemas, the Douglaston-based company MovieWorld gained ownership of the theater April 1, 2019.

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