Glen Cove's movie theater could reopen as soon as January, the theater's new owner said Thursday.
Investor Robert DiNoto, owner of the Huntington-based real estate investment firm the DiNoto Group, said ownership of the property, Glen Cove Cinemas, was transferred to a company he controlled late Thursday. He said he is in talks with more than three operators about renovations that could run between $1 million and $4 million and would include digital projectors for its six screens.
"I am relatively certain, based on the contacts that Mayor [Ralph] Suozzi has put together for us and the ones that we have on the table, that there will be a movie theater there in early 2014," DiNoto said. The theater is currently empty: Seats and floors and rugs were taken out, which means it will need a complete renovation.
"We'd like to see someone come to the table that is prepared to put some serious money of their own into the property, and if it's the right tenant, we might have to commit some substantial capital to that as well," he said.
Atlas Property Services Inc., another company controlled by DiNoto, bought the mortgage note from First Central Savings Bank in June after the building went into foreclosure in February. DiNoto said working out the details of the property transfer from its owner, Mottco Realty Group LLC, had taken some time and he declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
Mottco still owed $3.3 million on the property when it went into foreclosure, according to court records. Outfitting the Glen Cove theater with digital projectors -- which soon will be the only way to show new releases -- will cost around $500,000 to $600,000, he said.
DiNoto said he was positive about the city as a place for the theater business.
Glen Cove Cinemas is located at 5 School St.
"Glen Cove has been on the radar for a while as an area that hopefully only gets better," he said.
The shuttering of the theater in March has been difficult for area restaurants, which lost customers when the downtown lost a destination. Its closure has also been a sore spot for Suozzi, who has faced criticism from his challenger, City Council member Reginald Spinello, over what he calls a declining downtown. DiNoto said Suozzi has been a "very strong driving force behind what we're trying to do."
Though the deal could be a boost to Suozzi's re-election campaign, DiNoto said the timing was coincidental.
"We've been trying to get this done for months," he said.