Real estate developer Aby Rosen — known for snapping up some of Manhattan’s most beloved buildings — is the mystery buyer of the landmark movie theater in Southampton, Page Six can exclusively reveal.
And locals are freaking out over his potential plans for the space.
Last November, the colonial-style theater was purchased for $8 million by Hill Street Cinema LLC, which beat out documentary filmmakers Ben and Orson Cummings and a coalition of other locals.
Hamptonites are now up in arms over rumors that Rosen, the man behind the LLC, plans to turn the spot into a private club for his billionaire pals.
A source tells us that scaffolding has gone up around the historic venue, and word around town is that, “an email has gone out to the village’s wealthiest residents soliciting million dollar contributions and six figure dues to be granted access to a patron’s lounge and private restaurant… oh, and screening rooms.”
“This will be one more no-fly zone for the regular people of the community who are watching their hometown be taken over,” says an upset local.
But a rep for Rosen — who confirms that he is the buyer — tells us exclusively, “Mr. Rosen has no plans to create a private club at the Southampton Cinema. Again, he will not create a private club there.”
When asked what the high-end developer is going to do with the space, the rep told us, “We are not ready to share plans at this time.”
A press release dated Aug. 17, 2022 on the theater’s website says there are “plans to reopen the historic structure as a theater for movies and cultural events.”
The post also quotes a Hill Street Cinema spokesperson as saying, “The purchase was motivated by our fervent desire to preserve this essential component of Southampton Village’s culture as well as reactivating the building’s distinctive architecture, which has anchored the community’s center for many years.”
The theater — which was built in 1932, and restructured as a multiplex in the ’90s — has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was granted landmark status by the Southampton Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation in January, with members noting it has “been an institution and a focal point in the village,” according to local outlet 27 East.
Rosen has previously been behind luxury upgrades of the Chrysler Building and the former Four Seasons Restaurant in his Seagram Building.
The avid art collector is also behind Soho lounge the Blond, at his hip hotel 11 Howard, and he also owns the Paramount hotel in NYC and the W hotel in Miami, which is a mainstay for the chic set during Art Basel.
He also previously owned the iconic Lever House and the Gramercy Park Hotel, and he helped fund the Upper East Side’s private Core Club.
The real estate tycoon also owns a $21.5 million, art-filled mansion along Southampton’s “Billionaire’s Lane.”