Glen Cove's movie theater could reopen early next year, the theater's new owner said.
Investor Robert DiNoto, owner of the Huntington-based real estate investment firm the DiNoto Group, announced Thursday that ownership of the property, which includes Glen Cove Cinemas and three storefronts, has been transferred to a company he controlled.
"We're happy to be here," DiNoto said Friday at a news conference under the theater's marquee. "We're now in negotiations with a couple of different operators for the movie theaters, and we're trying to make the best choice for the town, for us as well."
He said that if he contracts with a local operator, the theater could open as soon as January; if a national operator, it will be later in the year.
The theater will need a full renovation that could cost $1 million to $4 million and would include $500,000 to $600,000 for new digital projectors for its six screens, he said.
Planned development in Glen Cove -- on the waterfront and the Piazza mixed-use project -- are a "great selling point" when talking to large operators, he said.
DiNoto credited Mayor Ralph Suozzi with putting him in touch with potential theater operators and pushing to get things moving -- including almost daily phone calls.
"This theater is the anchor of the downtown," Suozzi said at the news conference. "It's our primary entertainment venue here in Glen Cove. It supports so many of the businesses here."
DiNoto said he is talking to the city about a possible payment in lieu of taxes.
Phyllis Gorham, executive director of the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce, said the return of the movie theater will help fill the restaurants and shops downtown. "It's bringing people in not only from Glen Cove, but from surrounding areas," Gorham said.
Paul Ferri, owner of La Famiglia, a pizzeria in one of the theater building's storefronts, agreed the reopening would boost business. "They're going to have life back here," he said. Ferri said business has been down 30 percent since the theater closed in March. "We took a big hit. Thank God we've got great customers."
A company controlled by DiNoto bought the mortgage note from First Central Savings bank in June. The former owner, Mottco Realty Group LLC had defaulted on its loan and in February the property went into foreclosure, court records show.