Amid murmurs throughout the Village of Lynbrook that the $21 million, state-of-the-art Regal movie theater under construction on Merrick Road, near Atlantic Avenue, will not open until 2018, Mayor Bill Hendrick expressed confidence that it would show films this holiday season.
“I’m getting updates all the time, and their target area is between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Hendrick said, referring to Blumenfeld Development Group, which is building the theater.
Several people in the village, who chose to remain anonymous, said they had heard the theater would not open until February. Hendrick said he was unsure with whom those rumors started, but insisted that a holiday opening was planned. In April, he and the village board of trustees permitted BDG — a Syosset-based company hired by the Regal Entertainment Group — to start working on Sundays to avoid extending construction into 2018.
Though the move went against village code, which states construction is prohibited on Sundays unless it’s a matter of necessity, BDG pledged in return to complete the work by the holiday season. Village Attorney Peter Ledwith said the code was originally created so that construction noise would not bother local churches and other places of worship on Sundays. So far, there have not been any complaints, according to Hendrick.
Representatives of BDG were unavailable to comment on the status of the project as of press time. In April, David Blumenfeld, the company’s vice president, said the project was on track for the holidays.
“We are very pleased with the progress on the construction of the Lynbrook Regal theater and are hoping for completion by the holidays ... ” Blumenfeld said in a statement to the Herald. “Our progress has been impeded by weather conditions, and in order to meet our deadline, we are looking into the possibility of incorporating weekend crews.”
Hendrick said he checks in with the company every two or three weeks and regularly receives status updates. “They said, ‘You’re going to be able to have a Christmas movie,’” he said.
According to Hendrick, the latest information he received was that the interior was nearly finished, and workers were set to install the seats, which Hendrick said are in a nearby warehouse. He noted that they still need to build storage rooms for the films and complete the exterior and façade.
Another concern is parking. The old theater, which was bulldozed in 2016, had a 51-space lot. The new building is larger, and there will be no dedicated parking. Hendrick said he was confident after two parking studies — one ordered by Regal and the other by village officials — that there is adequate on-street parking and in the lots of surrounding stores.
The new theater will have a total of 1,434 seats, and Hendrick said that parking regulations on Atlantic Avenue would be amended to accommodate patrons during peak movie hours. He added that parking lots at stores near the theater are vacant at night when most businesses close. The municipal parking lot at Broadway and Langdon Place, designated for the construction of the Marriott hotel, is also available now that those plans have been scrapped — although, Hendrick said, that lot might be developed in the future.
To be certain there will be enough spaces, village officials tapped Vision Long Island to conduct a third study, which began in June. Representatives of VLI, a group that promotes responsible growth, are expected to present their report to the village in September. BDG is paying for the parking study.
“I’m not feeling bad about it,” said Hendrick, adding that he was confident that there would be enough parking and that the project would be completed on time. “I’m in a good place about things being on track.”