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Mar 27, 2018 7:27 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center Plans Advance

Mar 28, 2018 10:05 AM

Those planning the creation of the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center from the ashes of the former Main Street cinema building cleared one more hurdle this week.

The Sag Harbor Village Planning Board approved the site plan for the cinema arts center on Tuesday. The Planning Board had been reviewing plans to rebuild the former Sag Harbor Cinema, which was severely damaged by fire in December 2016.

Securing Planning Board approval was one of many steps that the Sag Harbor Partnership had to take to bring back the movie theater, which in its new incarnation would serve as a community arts center with three screening rooms.

The partnership raised $8 million last year to purchase the cinema property from Gerald Mallow in January. According to the partnership’s website, sagharborcinema.org, the original 480-seat screening room will be split in two, and there will be a third, smaller screening room on the cinema’s second floor, intended for private events. The new cinema also would have a small cafe on its first floor as a means to attract patrons simply looking for a place to enjoy the atmosphere of Sag Harbor.

At Tuesday night’s Planning Board meeting, Allen Kopelson of NK Architects detailed the possibility of adding a third floor to the building, with an outdoor terrace allowing a maximum occupancy of 49 people.

No member of the public spoke out against the plans during the meeting, and the Planning Board approved the site plans.

According to partnership’s vice president, artist April Gornik, the project is in phase two of development, which includes another round of fundraising to pay for the construction, currently estimated to cost $5 million to $6 million. As of Tuesday, March 20, the partnership had raised $1 million toward construction, with no official deadline or timetable to raise the balance of the money, though the organization hopes to raise $3 million by July 1 so that construction, which is expected to take a year to 18 months, can begin this summer.

In January, the Planning Board determined that the project would not have a significant environmental impact, and the Village Zoning Board of Appeals voted on March 20 to grant the needed variances. Now with the Planning Board’s approval, the partnership will seek approval for a building permit from the Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

Since the money was raised to purchase the property, the partnership has been offering something of a preview of what the cinema arts center will have to offer, with its American Values Film Series. Started in late 2017 and finishing in March, the program screened classic American films, including “Do the Right Thing” and “Toy Story,” for free in such spots as Pierson Middle/High School in Sag Harbor and Guild Hall in East Hampton.

The partnership has arranged special interviews with Hollywood luminaries after the screenings, including Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin, after a screening of his 1962 documentary, “The People vs. Paul Crump,” and Academy Award-winner Julie Andrews, speaking after a screening after her 1964 film, “The Americanization of Emily.”

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They're not done sucking the air out of the room so far as other non-profits in the harbor are concerned... and as if the sign replacement wasn't enough, once again Gerry Mallow is laughing all the way to the bank. Quite a bindle of cash for a mostly burned out shell.
By Just sitting on the taffrail (36), Southampton on Apr 5, 18 6:41 PM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser