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Signs of Hope for Center Cinemas

Photo: QueensPost

Dec. 29, 2013 By Christian Murray

Rudy Prashad, the owner of Center Cinemas, may have received an early Christmas present.

On Christmas Eve, he noticed a large ‘for lease’ sign had been erected inside the former Dime Savings bank next door—located at 42-25 Queens Blvd.

The notice helped calm Prashad’s nerves since the former Dime location is owned by 42-25 Queens Blvd Corp., the same company that bought the corner property which includes his theater, PJ Horgan’s and a local dentist office.

Prashad, whose lease ends December 2014, has been concerned ever since the building was bought for $6.675 million in December 2012 that the site would be redeveloped and he would be forced out.

“This gives me hope,” Prashad said, who is very eager to renew his lease and remain in Sunnyside.

Prashad has been trying to renew his lease for months—so he knows whether it is worthwhile to continue to renovate the theater. The landlord/management company, he said, finally told him they would discuss it in January.

The former bank space is up for rent for $18,000 per month, according to the real estate agent working on the property. The terms of the lease—such as its length—are up for negotiation. The real estate firm will be presenting a list of candidates to the management company.

Earlier this month, Michael Christopher, the property manager, did not reveal what the plans are for the property.  He said it was a private matter.

Local real estate agents had expected the owner to develop the site and build residential units. The annual operating income from the property while Dime was a tenant was $326,000, providing a meager return.

Furthermore, given the size of the lot (17,100sqf) and the recent up-zoning, a developer is able to build a structure with a maximum floor area of 68,400 sqf. The current building only has a floor area of 16,200 sqf (plus basement).

Meanwhile, PJ Horgan’s lease doesn’t end until June 30, 2018, while the dentist has the option in 2014 to renew his lease for another five years. The terms of that renewal are not known.

This was the listing when the property was put up for sale.

42-25 Queens Blvd – Setup by Sunnyside Post on Scribd

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That theater is garbage. It shows stupid action adventure movies for teenagers and the interior is as well kept as X rated places in times square 20 years ago.

The quality of the projection is crap. It has needed renovating for the last 10 years, and now they want patrons to pay for it? I haven’t been to that place in over three years, and I had to leave after 15 minutes because the quality was so bad. The manager didn’t even care. He said he’d give me my money back if I left before the 15 minute mark.


It would be a shame to lose another local business. But is this theatre worth the sentemintal value? The place is a total dump, has had issues with bed bugs and not to mention the film quality. Were it known for playing Grindhouse classics the technical qualities might be passable but honestly this theatre is a blight on the neighborhood, not to mention a blight the cinematic experieince itself. Look it’s never going to charge IMAX prices because it will never be an IMAX experience, but please, at least bother to hang the movie posters in the entrance properly. There is so little care put into this dump. And how long is it before that marquee which looks like it’s held together with duct tape, comes crashing down??!!


I love being able to catch a first run movie for under ten dollars and being home within five minutes after. The Sunnyside movie theater is one of the true wonders of the neighborhood and I HOPE it stays.


one of the better things about sunnyside is we are one of the handful of neighborhoods in nyc left with a local theater… it would be a shame to lose that…


I would love to see both the center and PJ Stay, I had my very first date with my now more than 30 year husband there. great memories i was just there on my birthday in November , and the center theater back in the day when it only had one huge screen, i saw the Rocky horror picture show with my sister, good times, let’s not lose the good memories these 2 establishments have given the sunny side lifers,

South Side Johnny

This whole article is based on the movie theater owner seeing a sign and “feeling hopeful”? That’s it? Nothing of any substance- just this feeling he has? I think I’ll wait to hear something more official.


Keep the theater – and do something about the lousy productions of Hip to Hip Theatre – poorly produced and badly acted. Oh, yeah, it’s “free”, so don’t demand any standards.

Diane W.

I would love to see the Center movie Theater remain. But even better hearing that P.J. Horgan’s has a lease until 2018/ For so many decades would have a burger and see a movie. I hope this doesn’t fall to the wayside like so many other Sunnyside establishments have gone.

jesus is my back seat driver

yes, and im sure you would all love the higer ticket prices that renovation brings.

what we need is a 99 cent movie theater/nail salon combo – they can go low budget and just show old flicks or cat videos from youtube


put something the neighborhood actually needs, how about an urgent care center, you know…something for the people who actually live in Sunnyside.


What a warm and pleasant approach to start the New Year………………….
YOU DONT KNOW SUNNYSIDE, and its positives


who cares what the owner does with their property, if everyone cared so much why did they not take 6mil + of their own money to control the use of this property. the reason the owner would be developing the lot is because sunnyside is one of the most currently over hyped neighborhoods in nyc.


Even if they build rental apts on top a movie theater, a PJHorgans and a dentist would be valuable assets …


I for one would love to see the Center Movie Theatre remain. It is in need of a facelift but Sunnyside without a movie theatre would be terribly sad.

Good luck Rudy. I am a designer…call me if you need some help with the design.


Celtic Bark

What a shame, I was just thinking how badly this neighborhood needs another Starbucks, Subway, Chase bank and/or another oversized office building.


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