According to a real estate listing, Sag Harbor’s only theatre is available for $12 million. Residents in the village first became aware the cinema was for sale after a voice recording announcing movie times ended with a request that those interested in renting, leasing or buying the historic theatre should contact the owner via e-mail. The recording has since been changed.
The Sag Harbor Cinema has historically screened independent, foreign and art house movies, unlike neighboring theaters, which primarily show blockbuster or mainstream films. In 2004, Sag Harbor residents rallied, and successfully fundraised to restore in-kind the cinema sign – seen by many as a landmark of the village – after word spread the sign would be removed and replaced.
Sag Harbor Village attorney Anthony Tohill said a proposed zoning code in the village – which the village has embarked on to update what officials have called an antiquated code and help protect the mom-and-pop feel of Main Street – actually presents advantages for Mallow over the current code. Movie theatres are permitted in the Village Business District under the proposed code, while the cinema is non-conforming under the current code. In addition to a movie theatre, theoretically, the space could be converted to any permitted use in the Village Business District although any new business would be subject to proposed size restrictions. He added that under guidelines for the Sag Harbor historic preservation and architectural review board, if the sign is deemed a historic feature, it should be preserved.