Developers plan to construct 23 loft-style apartments at the site...

Developers plan to construct 23 loft-style apartments at the site of the shuttered Islip Cinemas on Main Street. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

A proposal to transform the closed Islip Cinemas into industrial-style apartments was endorsed by the town planning board last week. 

Long Island City-based developer Global Team LI LLC is seeking a zoning change from Islip Town to construct 23 loft-style apartments at the site of the former movie theater at 410 Main St. The theater opened in 1947 when a ticket was just 35 cents but it has struggled to remain open in recent years; its screens went dark from 2006 to 2013 after it was auctioned. It closed again in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Developers are seeking approval for an overlay of Planned Landmark Preservation District and permission to modify the density and dimensional requirements to accommodate the living spaces and a restaurant. It's unclear when the proposal will be heard by the town board. 

According to the site plan submitted to the town, studios would be approximately 800 square feet with outdoor patio space. The building would include a lobby for tenants, a private garden, a package room and fitness space. The development would include 16 studios, two one-bedroom units and five duplexes. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will have a garden entry area and outdoor seating on the ground floor.

Developers agreed to renovate the theater’s parking lot on Smith Street and add lighting. They will also pay $34,500 in parking mitigation fees to the town, which the planning board said could be used to upgrade parking at Town Hall West. David Busch, the project architect, said the revamped building would be instrumental in the continued revitalization of Islip’s Main Street. 

The application was previously heard at an Oct. 13 public hearing, where a few residents voiced concern about traffic and parking. Linda Lisenbarth, the owner of nearby Sew What's New and Yarn Too, said she’s worried construction crews would use parking spots that are reserved for her customers. 

“Everybody 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 situation with parking. That seems to be the main obstacle.” 

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