Shuttered Islip Cinemas could get a second act as apartments, restaurant
A proposal to turn shuttered Islip cinemas into industrial-style apartments was approved by planning council last week.
Long Island City-based developer Global Team LI LLC is seeking to rezone Islip Town to build 23 loft-style apartments on the site of the former movie theater at 410 Main. The St. Theater opened in 1947 when a ticket cost just 35 cents, but it has struggled to stay open in recent years. his screens went dark from 2006 to 2013 after his auction. It closed again in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The developers are seeking approval of a planned landmark preservation district overlay and permission to change the density and dimensional requirements to accommodate living spaces and a restaurant. It is not known when the proposal will be heard by the city council.
According to the layout plan submitted to the city, the studios would be approximately 800 square feet with an outdoor terrace. The building would include a lobby for tenants, a private garden, a fitness room and a fitness area. The development would include 16 studios, two one-bedroom units and five duplexes. The 3,000 square foot restaurant will have a garden entrance and outdoor seating on the ground floor.
The developers agreed to renovate the theater parking lot on Smith Street and add lighting. They will also pay $34,500 in parking mitigation fees to the city, which the planning board says could be used to improve parking at City Hall West. David Busch, the project’s architect, said the renovated building would be instrumental in the continued revitalization of Islip’s main street.
The request was already heard in a public hearing on October 13, during which a few residents expressed concern about traffic and parking. Linda Lisenbarth, owner of nearby Sew What’s New and Yarn Too, said she was concerned construction crews would use the parking spaces reserved for her customers.
“Everyone loves the project,” planning board vice-chairman Kevin Brown said at the October meeting. “It’s really good for the neighborhood, it’s good for the building, it’s good for Islip, but we have a parking situation. This seems to be the main obstacle.