Developer Cyrus Hakakian is renovating Westbury Theater to be ready...

Developer Cyrus Hakakian is renovating Westbury Theater to be ready to open in March. (Oct. 18, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The "eyesore" that is now the shuttered and dilapidated Westbury Theater will be transformed, if not in the blink of an eye, then by spring, the developer who is renovating the Tudor-style building on downtown Post Avenue said Tuesday.

Downtown merchants hope developer Cyrus Hakakian of Roslyn is on target. Daniel Commissio, a hairdresser at the Adesso salon across the street from the 93-year-old building, called it an "eyesore" that merchants and shoppers have been living with since the theater closed in 2001 because of its deterioration.

Hakakian was at the site Tuesday on a bright afternoon. He said a new 700-seat theater will open in March. Renovations began in February.

Hakakian bought the property in 2004 at an auction for $1.65 million. It will no longer be just a movie theater, he said. Plans call for plays, comedy shows and foreign films. Hakakian said he also is planning to get satellite feeds from the Metropolitan Opera and also from live concerts.

"We're going to introduce art here," Hakakian said.

Westbury Village Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro said completion of the theater will be "an important step for the revitalization" of the downtown area. "We've been working on downtown revitalization for the last eight or 10 years. We're looking at this to be the capstone of what we've done," which includes opening more green spaces and building residential units.

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