Reader Shade Rupe writes in with the news that Tribeca Cinemas will be closing: "just last week the landlord told them they have to move out by the end of the month. They’re razing the building and...you know the drill."
The drill, according to the New York Post, is that the building is on the market and "could be transformed into all residential or all office... 'We think it will trade for over $120 million,' the broker told the paper. 'It has high ceilings and is great loft space--it’s what Tribeca is all about.'" As the Real Deal reported last year when the building was first being shopped around, "The property also comes with unused air rights which could allow for the construction of more units."
While the Post does not specifically mention the cinema's closure, a source close to Shade spoke to some employees: "They told me they just found out last week. Everyone there is really shocked as this came out of nowhere... Apparently, the landlord wants to tear the building down."
I have not been able to confirm with anyone at the cinema.
The little independent movie house opened as The Screening Room in 1996, a combo restaurant and theater, the "dreamwork of two young corporate malcontents in love with the movies," according to Gael Greene in a 1996 New York magazine. Every Sunday, they showed "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
The Screening Room closed in 2003. "The venue had been struggling since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11," reported the Post at the time, "as well as suffering from competition from newer venues like the Sunshine Theater in the East Village." The theater was then purchased by Robert DeNiro and his Tribeca Film Festival partners.
Since then, the theater has not been a regular for showing films, but dedicated to festivals, special screenings, and private events. At the moment, they're still scheduled for June 11 to host a 30th anniversary screening of Berry Gordy's "The Last Dragon": "An urbanized flip on Bruce Lee movies and chop-suey cinema," says Tribeca Film. "The Last Dragon combined NYC’s mid-’80s hip-hop culture with vintage kung-fu storytelling into what’s become a beloved cinematic time capsule."