EXCLUSIVE: Pye Properties Confirms Purchase Of Landmarked Shore Theater

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Rumors that Coney Island’s landmarked Shore Theater was sold to a developer triggered a tide of excitement this week that the long-neglected property would be restored to its former glory.

On Friday evening a representative for the buyer, Pye Properties, confirmed the building’s sale and that the company intends to renovate the theater and use it as an entertainment venue.

“The community can rest assured that the buyer intends to use the Shore Theater as an entertainment venue and revitalize it after many decades of neglect,” said Igor Oberman, outside council for Pye Properties.

Sale of the Shore Theater was first reported Thursday by the Coney Island Blog. A source named Peter, who claimed to be a member of Pye Properties’ management team, said the building had sold for $20 million. The Brooklyn Paper also quoted an unnamed source who said Pye Properties had purchased the theater. However, the company would neither confirm or deny the sale.

Oberman said he reached out to the dealmakers at Pye Properties before returning our request to confirm the sale. He said the company pursued buying the property because of its historical significance.

“Anybody in real estate knows that the Shore Theater is a cornerstone of Coney Island history,” he said. “This is a tremendous asset that the community wants to revitalize and it is an exciting way to kick off 2016.”

Oberman said the deal was finalized last week, but would not confirm that the purchase was made for $20 million. He said Pye Properties was surprised deal had been leaked publicly and would be ready to come forward with more details in the coming weeks.

City Councilman Mark Treyger celebrated the news after reading about the sale on the Coney Island Blog.

“If in fact this is the case, this is a significant development and turning point for Coney Island. My office will reach out to the mentioned new owner and seek clarity about future plans for the Shore Theater,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Pye Properties purchased the Shore Theater from Jasmine Bullard — daughter of the Kansas Fried Chicken mogul and Coney Island land baron Horace Bullard, who dreamed of revitalizing the People’s Playground through renovations of his many properties. When he bought the theater in 1978, he hoped to turn the building into a hotel and casino, but his efforts were stymied by the city and the property sat derelict ever since, the Brooklyn Eagle reports.

Since her father’s death in 2013, Jasmine has been under pressure to restore or sell the theater. The deteriorating property, built in 1925, had been been taken over by homeless squatters and many considered it to be a blight on the neighborhood, according to the Daily News.

The decision the sell the theater, the only landmarked property in Coney Island, comes at a time when the city is pressing forward with plans to seize some of the Bullard family’s other Coney Island properties through the use of eminent domain. City officials argued they were forced to use the controversial power, which allows the government to seize private property for the public’s use, because efforts to find a fair-market price with the owners of the dilapidated properties have failed.

Oberman said that plans to renovate the theater will still have to go through community board and Landmarks Preservation Commission because of the building’s historical status. However, he said the new owners will be seeking input from the community to determine how best to move forward.

“This building is an anchor in the Coney Island community,” he said. “It’s no longer going to be an eyesore or a menace to the neighborhood.”

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  • Barre Flynn

    This is seriously good news.