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Route 9A, Former 'Movie Mecca,' Loses Another Cinema Complex

The Greenburgh Multiplex theater at 320 Saw Mill River Road.
The Greenburgh Multiplex theater at 320 Saw Mill River Road. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

Route 9A, also known as Saw Mill River Road, was once a mecca of movie entertainment destinations in the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant.

Last year, the owner of the All Westchester Saw Mill Multiplex Cinemas in Hawthorne tore down its 10-screen theater at 151 Saw Mill River Road and replaced it with an Audi car dealership.

And now, a short drive south of that movie hub, the Greenburgh Multiplex theater at 320 Saw Mill River Road will close on May 31, 2019, according to Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner.

Both business complexes are a short drive from the site of the Elmsford Drive-in Movie Theater, as detailed here by The New York Times.

The old Elmsford Drive-In was on the site opposite where the Greenburgh Multiplex is now and the land is now part of the warehouse complex that today dominates that part of the Route 9A corridor.

A lawyer for Lewis Masters LLC, the property owner, told Feiner:  "There has been a steady downturn in attendance and profitability at the theater."

The once-thriving Greenburgh shopping center was former home to Masters department store, and continues to host popular eateries like Rita's -- an Italian Ice shop -- and Taco Bell.  (Their leases are now up in the air, too, according to Feiner.)

National Amusements, which operates the theater, said the lease will not be renewed when it expires next May.

Feiner said, "William Null advised me that the property consists of 10.5 acres on 9A. No agreement has been reached with new tenants for commercial uses of the premises."

The site is zoned DS – Designed Shopping District - which permits retails stores (including big-box retail) fully enclosed commercial recreation, restaurants, cinemas, etc. Multi-family housing is not a permitted use

Feiner said, "I had been advised that there has been a steady downturn in attendance and profitability at the theater. This occurrence for theaters has been experienced locally (Saw Mill Multiplex Cinemas in Mount Pleasant) and is symbolic of regional trends. In addition to the theater, the Greenburgh Multiplex site contains complimentary retail/service/restaurant uses."

"I’m obviously disappointed since I know that many residents have enjoyed the theater and businesses at the site over the years," Feiner said.

Feiner told Daily Voice that he's "getting a lot of emails from residents who also are upset. Unfortunately, not enough people patronized the theater."

Feiner said it is always helpful to hear from residents regarding uses that could be beneficial to the community. "While the Town has no control over proposals submitted or has no power to force a tenant to renew a lease, feedback received from residents would certainly be shared with the site owner," Feiner said.

Feiner said he was informed of the decision in a July 13 letter from William Null, who represents the owner. Null's letter said Lewis Masters "is reviewing options for the future use of the premises, which comprises 10.5 acres."

The Town of Greenburgh still enjoys two smaller cinema locations at iPic Theater in Rivertowns Square in Dobbs Ferry and at Bow Time Cinemas at 93 Knollwood Road.

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