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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Popular Bollywood-based Movie Theater to be Closed in New York

A popular theater in New York, which is a home of Bollywood movie for Indian people residing in New York, is going to be closed. The theater named Cineplaza is located in an underground parking garage of a building. Recently the owner of that building has decided to build a 29-storey residential and commercial building. So, the owner of the theater, Vijay Shah has nothing to do and has no option to keep the theater open for many of the Indian residents of New York. I am quoting some lines from a hisdustantimes report:

“Shah's multiplex, located in an underground parking garage has been cast in doubt after the building's owner got approvals to demolish the theatre and replace it with a 29-storey residential and commercial tower, reported northjersey.com.

Shah, who has already been through a relocation mess, when the theatre's old home was shut down in January this year, is in a dilemma.

He said he thought the property's financial troubles were over.

The theatre represents a unique cultural niche where Shah screens about 60 Indian films a year, including eight or 10 blockbusters that sell as many as 15,000 tickets per show.

CinePlaza is the largest Indian theatre on the East coast, with a capacity of about 1,300 seats. The closing of the theatre will hugely disappoint the locals.

The owners of the property, Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner Companies, planned its redevelopment Wednesday when the North Bergen council approved rezoning the property.

The new zoning would permit a 25-storey residential tower with up to 350 units, and a four-storey commercial and retail base.

However, the other tenants in the shopping centre, including a ShopRite and Bally's gym, will be not be affected by the redevelopment plan.

The centre was built seven years ago. Township officials said the developers have not given any timeline for when a formal application may be filed.

Forest City representatives were not available for comments, but township officials said the developers stated the theatre was the only part of the shopping centre that was unprofitable.

Shah said Starplex officials told him the theatre has been in the black since Oct, largely because audiences brought in by the Indian theatre have fattened concession sales and cut down on nuisance crimes that used to plague the building.

Still, Shah says he has always known that his lease is subject to only a 30-day termination clause, and he says he has begun a half-hearted search for a new home.

But he said theatres are hard to come by and larger chains will sometimes rent out individual screens in profit-sharing agreements, but there's nothing like having a theatre of his own.

"It's a very risky proposition. That's why you don't see so many of these," said Shah.”

It seems that Indian residents in New York are going to loose one of the biggest source of their entertainment. I think it is also very bad for Bollywood as a theater is also a big spokesman of a country’s art and culture so Bollywood bosses can also try to help Mr. Shah to keep this theater open.

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