The planned Babylon Village performing arts center won village board approval last week, clearing the way for a multimillion-dollar renovation of a former movie theater at 34 W. Main St.
“This is going to be a tremendous asset for this village and for residents and nonresidents who will visit our shops and our restaurants,” Mayor Ralph Scordino said, anticipating a major draw for small businesses in the village downtown.
The arts center, to be called the Argyle Theater at Babylon Village, would be Long Island’s second year-round professional theater, joining the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport and would employ unionized Broadway players.
Attorneys for the village and for Mark and Dylan Perlman, the Seaford father and son who will run the roughly 450-seat Argyle, will in coming weeks finalize an agreement on operations at the site. It will cover topics like operating hours, alcohol sales and parking that drew concern from neighbors at planning and village board meetings over the summer.
“We will ensure the impact on commercial and residential neighbors is positive,” said Gerard Glass, an attorney with experience in commercial and zoning matters who is representing the village. “There will be a vetting period where issues can be revisited.”
The Perlmans have asked to stay open to midnight most nights of the week, with 11 p.m. closings Sunday and Monday, along with up to 24 midnight showings per year with 2 a.m. closings.
Those hours have yet to be negotiated. The Perlmans’ attorney, Garden City-based Diana Prevete of the firm Albanese & Albanese, said her clients have already agreed to soundproof the building and to warn their patrons against parking on nearby streets like Prospect Street with postings on their website, signs in their building and perhaps even messages on tickets.
Residents of Prospect Street are wary of new development that could bring more traffic to their neighborhood, which they say already absorbs some of the overflow when Main Street traffic is congested or restaurant and bar patrons are looking for parking.
The Perlmans have said they will spend about $2.5 million to buy and renovate the former Bow Tie Cinemas building. They hope to open the Argyle in the spring with a lineup of professional shows cast with Broadway players, along with concerts and children’s theater.