As expected, the Lower East Side’s iconic Sunshine Cinema closed its doors for good last night. Come March, this over 100-year-old structure will be demolished, and in its place will rise a nine-story office building. The New York Times had the first rendering for that glassy tower, as part of a mini-profile on the shuttered establishment.
The developers plan to demolish the existing structure in March, and begin construction on the new 65,000 square foot building thereafter. The Roger Ferris-designed building will go by the new address of 141 East Houston Street, and have retail on the ground floor, in addition to the office space.
The founder of East End Capital, Jonathan Yormak, told NYT that the office building will be marketed to small and midsize companies, and that the project was inspired by the growing demand for office space in the neighborhood.
Built as a church in the mid-19th century, the sunshine cinema has had several tenants over the years. Following its years as a church, it operated as a fight club in the early 20th century. From 1909 onward, it became a moving pictures and vaudeville theater, and remained that way for several decades. As these grand movie theaters began to decline in the 1950s, Sunshine Cinema’s building was taken over by a hardware store for the second half of the 20th century. It was reborn as Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in 2001; cinema is what clearly defined this establishment over the years.