After 30 years, Commack Multiplex closes

The Commack Multiplex Cinemas has closed for good. The Commack Multiplex Cinemas has closed for good. A sign posted at the theater said business ceased as of Sept. 26, 2011. The property has been purchased by Lowe's and will be redeveloped into a store. Photo Credit: Julia Xanthos, 2004

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The Commack Multiplex Cinemas, the first of Long Island's modern multitheater movie houses, has shut its doors for good after almost 30 years.

A sign addressed to "our loyal customers" and posted on the theater's front door Thursday night said it closed for business as of Sept. 26.

The 20-acre site was purchased for $13 million in 2010 by the Lowe's home improvement company as a future site for one of its stores. It continued showing films through last weekend under an agreement with the multiplex's parent company, National Amusements, Inc., based in Massachusetts.

Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio said the best days of the theater had passed, and a Lowe's should be a positive addition. "I think it will be a good reuse of that property," Vecchio said. "I'm not sure how much attendance was at that theater."

The complex, located close to the Long Island Expressway-Sagtikos Parkway interchange, opened in the early 1980s and was the first of its kind on Long Island built from the ground up to be a multiplex, said Smithtown Planning Board director Frank DeRubeis.

But in recent years, more modern theaters, with new amenities like IMAX screens and stadium seating, have drawn customers away from the Commack theater complex, DeRubeis said.

Plans for the Lowe's are under review by the Planning Board, and if there are no obstacles, demolition of the current structure and construction of a store might begin as early as the spring, DeRubeis.

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Newsday staff writer Keiko Morris contributed to this story.

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