UPPER WEST SIDE, NY – It looks like it’s actually happening. The long-vacant Upper West Side Metro Theater is reopening as a “multi-screen boutique movie theater,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. tweeted Monday.
“For those skeptical after many years of countless failed plans at the subway, I have spoken directly to the company opening this new venue,” Levine wrote on Twitter. “It’s real. It’s happening.”
People were quick to share their excitement about the reopening of the abandoned theater, especially as a venue for the arts.
“It’s been so long since the good news has passed,” one person wrote. “I was ready to read that it would be a target or something…So glad it was a movie theater!”
“My childhood theatre, so happy!” another person wrote.
The iconic Broadway theater between West 99th and 100th Streets has been vacant since 2006, but a new work application was submitted March 3 related to an earlier application filed in 2020 to “convert the existing motion theater building into a use commercial with general construction, structural upgrade according to plan.”
Theater owner Albert Bialek told the WestSideRag that the new space will host several “dining rooms”, which will screen films and serve food and alcohol.
The new owners are still a mystery, but Bialek told WestSideRag that they are “famous people” from California.
There have been reports that construction has already begun in the theater, but the Buildings Department told Patch that permits to begin construction have not been issued.
In fact, the city agency received 311 complaints about unauthorized work on the site and sent inspectors to the theater on Saturday to observe the site, but saw no work in progress.
Permits are still being prepared to actually begin the renovation works.
There is no timetable for the opening of the new site.
Read more: Upper West Side’s Metro Theater Set to Become a Retailer: Permits