Local movie buffs may soon be losing one of their prime venues if a redevelopment plan comes to fruition.
The owner of the All Westchester Saw Mill Multiplex Cinemas in Hawthorne has proposed to tear down the 10-screen theater at 151 Saw Mill River Rd. and replace it with an Audi car dealership.
The dealership would be more than 67,000 square feet and include service facilities for the vehicles.
Theater owner National Amusements, Inc. is seeking site plan approval from the Mount Pleasant Planning Board. National Amusements, based in Dedham, Mass., operates more than 1,500 movie screens throughout the United States and abroad.
The planning board has declared itself lead agency for the project and is requiring National Amusements to complete a full state Environmental Quality Review (SEQRA), Mount Pleasant Building and Fire Inspector Sal Pennelle said.
The property is sited in a CR-B zone, which is intended for commercial retail. As a result, National Amusements would not require a zoning change from the town board, Pennelle said.
Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said Monday the dealership would likely be an advantage to the town compared to the theater because it would generate less traffic.
“As much as I hate to see (a movie theater close) I’m not against a car dealership,” Fulgenzi said.
He added that since the site would be redeveloped it would continue to generate both property and sales taxes. If the dealership was built, a new assessment of the site would be needed to determine its property tax obligations, he said.
Repeated messages left for National Amusements during the past week at its corporate headquarters were not returned.