By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Jan. 20, 2021: I was trying to think of a definitive word to convey this message, but I have only come up with the word-resolve.
I share with you that due to COVID-19 market conditions, our venerable theater, currently operated by Bow Tie Cinemas on Kraft Avenue, is looking for a new theater operator to run the Bronxville theater, or if not feasible, another type of tenant to take over the space as Bowtie owns the building in which our movies have been shown since 1929.
The management at the Bowtie family loves the Bronxville market and community, but the economics tells them they need to focus on other markets in other states that are currently allowing movie theaters to open and which have a larger footprint that better fits the company’s strategy and direction and have more advantageous COVID-19 occupancy restrictions.
Bowtie has engaged Bronxville’s own Admiral Real Estate Services to identify and solicit offers from alternative theater operators and honestly from other types of tenants who might be interested in this well-positioned large and unique space.
Fortunately, the Village has had a long and very symbiotic relationship with Admiral Real Estate. As a Trustee, I had a very strong connection with Mel Gordon, the father of the current head of Admiral, Jonathan Gordon, and participated in so many initiatives that have had a long-term benefit for the Village. Mel’s son, Jonathan, continues this relationship with the same partnership and integrity.
As background, Admiral is a real estate broker which specializes in leasing and selling commercial properties in both Westchester and Fairfield Counties. The company brought the Bedford Playhouse to the Old Post Road in 2016, the home of independent, foreign, documentary, and first-run films. Admiral is also currently marketing the Mount Kisco movie theater.
Quite fortunately, given the circumstances, Admiral has been a long-term advocate of our central business district, offering free parking and funding of many community events while having a presence on Pondfield Road for over 20 years.
In a very fair-minded gesture, Admiral has allowed me to share with villagers the news before they go out and actively seek alternative partners to facilitate a solution to benefit the Village as I did not want Villagers to hear this news by reading a marquee on Kraft Avenue.
I am asking any villager who has any ideas or connections to step up and help us to keep our theaters in the Village. We have demonstrative evidence that not only does this theater benefit us as residents (I cannot tell you how many nights, especially Tuesdays, I have enjoyed seeing a first-run movie and then being able to walk home), but the theater also brings in people from so many surrounding communities who then have a drink or dinner or an ice cream cone and window shop and come back in daylight hours to purchase items they have seen. My feelings, and I think they’re the feelings of so many of you in the Village, is we have to do everything we can not to lose our movie theater.
The Village is following the lead of many communities across the country and is leaving Holiday lights on through January and February with the idea that this simple gesture will help light up our community and remind our local heroes of our collective appreciation for their life-saving efforts, whether it was in caring for patients, responding to emergencies, educating our children, opening their stores or keeping supply lines open and grocery shelves stocked. At the end of a long day, we hope that these lights of gratitude will be ever-present reminders of how much Bronxville values the selfless professionals who continue to give their best each day for our community during these challenging times.
At the January Village Board of Trustees’ meeting, after an exhaustive and thorough study by Village Trustee and former Zoning Board Chairman, Bill Fredericks and current Zoning Board Chairman, Stuart Mackintosh in consultation with Paul Taft, head of the Building Department and our Planning Board Chairman, Gary Reetz, the Board unanimously adopted some changes to the zoning code. In my next column, I will delineate the changes in detail so that residents will be well versed before submitting permits.
The changes were a combination of frankly some long-needed revisions to put us in sync with other like communities on issues such as teardowns, the size of the structures versus the size of the lots, and neighbor notification. The recommendations came about as a result of observations by board members of cases that have come before the Zoning and Planning Boards, recommendations in our Community Comprehensive Plan by the professionals as well as recommendations by the majority of the 750+ residents who answered the Comprehensive Plan Survey. These changes are anticipated to be the first in a series of zoning code revisions where needed.
Other issues at the forefront requiring specialized research include the use of solar energy on residential homes and the area of tree and historical preservation.
Pictured: Mary Marvin
Photo by A. Warner
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Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
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