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Lower East Side's Sunshine Cinema may have found a buyer

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The site is rumored to be in contract for $31.5 million

Courtesy of Landmark Theatres

The fate of the Lower East Side’s Sunshine Cinema has been uncertain for nearly two years now. The indie film-centric theater is operated by the Landmark Theatres group, but the owner of the site at 139-143 East Houston has considered selling the property for some time now.

In the summer of 2015, rumors were doing the rounds of the site being primed for development with an asking price of $35 million. Sunshine Cinema joined the city’s list of endangered movie theaters ever since.

Now rumors are abound that the fate of the indie theater may be sealed. Bowery Boogie is reporting that the property has entered into contract based on a post on the Lower East Side blog.

The property may be selling to East End Capital for $31.5 million, but these rumors are yet to be confirmed. Curbed has reached out to Landmark Theatres for a clarification.

The cinema’s struggles have been documented for some time now. To survive amid rising rents in the neighborhood, Landmark Theatres proposed converting Sunshine Cinema into a full dining service theater à la Nitehawk in Williamsburg or iPic at the South Street Seaport, in 2012. The local community board rejected that idea.

Recently, the president of Landmark Theatres told Bowery Boogie that it was impractical to think that a developer would build on top of Sunshine Cinema and incorporate the movie theater at the base, and that it was more likely that the building would be fully demolished with an entirely new structure built in its place. He did not express fears about being booted out at the time. The theater’s lease is ongoing until next year.