Report: Sunshine Theatre Building On the Market as Development Site

Sunshine Cinema. Photo via: Cinema Treasures.

Sunshine Cinema. Photo via: Cinema Treasures.

According to a report in the Real Deal, the building housing the Sunshine Cinema is up for sale. The property at 139-143 East Houston St. is being shopped around as a development site for “north of $35 million.”

The art house cinema, in an historic 1898 building, was opened in 2001 by the nationwide Landmark Theatre chain. The lease runs until 2018. Landmark reportedly pays about $200,000 per year.  The Real Deal notes that the property runs 62 feet along Houston Street. It includes about 56,000 buildable square feet, with a bonus for  affordable housing.

The owner, Steven Goldman, was not available for comment.

Here’s a bit more info on the building’s history. Portions of the structure reportedly date to 1838, when the German evangelical mission was based there. It then became the Houston Athletic Center (1908) and the Houston Hippodrome (1909). Landmark Theatres spent $12 million on the 2001 restoration.

The Hippodrome was a venue for Yiddish vaudeville acts. According to Cinema Treasures, the property changed hands in 1917 and it was renamed the Sunshine, before becoming the Chopein Theatre in the 1930s. After closing in 1945, the building was used for storage for decades.

The building is not protected as a city landmark.