SUNNYSIDE — The neighborhood's only movie theater, where daytime films cost a bargain $5, is set to close its doors in January with plans to redevelop the site into housing.
Sunnyside Center Cinemas, located at 42-17 Queens Blvd., will screen its last movies Jan. 4, according to Rudy Persaud, who took over the theater in 2006.
"I'm not angry at anyone. I'm not bitter. I'm just upset for the patrons, because they love the place," said Persaud, who also runs Main Street Cinemas in Kew Gardens. "I just think that Sunnyside is a great place. I'm sad that there wont be a local cinema anymore."
The closing was first reported by the Sunnyside Post.
The five-screen theater charges $5 for shows before 5 p.m., and $7.50 for evening screenings, according to Persaud, who said he hasn't raised prices in the eight years he's owned the business.
The theater is located on Queens Boulevard at 43rd Street, in the same property as a now-closed Dime Bank and bar P.J. Horgan's.
John Ciafone, one of the building's owners who bought the site in early 2013, said he is looking to build affordable housing with retail on the ground floor. P.J. Horgan's will remain in its space, he said.
"We're trying to basically go in with a developer, a joint venture, and we'd like to do affordable housing that would benefit the community," Ciafone said, adding that he would be open to discussions to bring Center Cinemas back to the space once the project is completed.
"We like them," he said. "If they want to come back, we'll be willing to sit down with them."
Ciafone did not have a timeline for when the redevelopment would take place.
Persaud said he wants to thank the neighborhood and its customers for their support over the years.
"Thank you for everything. I did not come to Sunnyside to become a millionaire, otherwise I would have raised the prices," he said. "It was really about them."