South Bay Cinemas

495 Montauk Highway,
West Babylon, NY 11704

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Additional Info

Architects: Leon A. Miller

Previous Names: South Bay Trio

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News About This Theater

South Bay Cinemas

The South Bay is a free standing building within the shopping center it is located in. It was opened by Imperial Theatres on June 28, 1967 with John Wayne in “El Dorado”. On May 21, 1975 it became the South Bay Trio. On November 30, 1990 it became a quad. It expanded to 5-screens on November 15, 1991. It was closed in November 2016 for renovation. A reopening was planned for June 16, 2023, but the building didn’t pass safety checks and a reopening was deferred until fall of 2023.

Contributed by Bway Chris

Recent comments (view all 159 comments)

Roe5685 on May 28, 2023 at 9:49 am

This sounds really great but there is only parking for about 30 cars. With 550 seats I would guess you need 100 car parks. If you park on the car parks of the adjacent shopping center with huge costs for taxes, security, snow removal you will be towed UNLESS the new theater has entered into a car park agreement! Has it done that? Or do you go to the new theater by Uber?

FormerFlixGuy on May 30, 2023 at 5:38 am

There is no signage anywhere that limits parking for movie theatre patrons to any portion of the parking lot. I can’t imagine they will start towing cars without any warnings that some parking is off limits. As it was before, it looks like shared parking between the theatre, the supermarket, Starbucks and the other tenants.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 30, 2023 at 8:57 pm

I was looking for a site ParkingLotTreasures but couldn’t find one.

(Parking will not be an issue.)

robboehm on June 16, 2023 at 5:28 am

Opening delayed pending approvals by the Town Board and the Fire Marshall.

Joshua Bilmes
Joshua Bilmes on July 1, 2023 at 1:31 pm

Article in June 30 issue of Newsday said all sorts of permitting issues found during inspection, and reopening delayed indefinitely.

ridethectrain on July 1, 2023 at 7:48 pm

from Newsday June 30 A West Babylon movie theater that was slated to reopen in time for the summer season may not start screenings until fall — or possibly ever — after town inspectors found numerous safety violations.

South Bay Cinemas owner Jay Levinson spent $1.3 million on a renovation to the property, which has been closed since 2016, and had planned to open by mid-June, Newsday previously reported.

But the theater didn’t pass an inspection by Town of Babylon building, engineering and fire officials in early June, according to Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Anthony Cardali.

“If you went in there and saw the whole thing as a totality, you would say this isn’t even close to being finished,” he said.

Levinson, 69, who also owns the Bellmore Playhouse, said he has hired an attorney to question some of the town’s findings.

“They want me to do all these things that would cost me money that could cause this theater not opening ever,” he added.

The fire marshal’s office found 22 items that need to be addressed, ranging from removing construction debris to labeling exit doors to correcting “severe damage” to flame retardant curtains. The building department issued a list of 14 necessary fixes while engineering officials found six problems.

Cardali said because the building has an occupancy load of more than 500 people, fire safety is the overarching concern for the town.

“We take fire safety in public assembly extremely seriously,” Cardali said. “The life hazard here is tremendous based on the occupancy load.”

Cardali said problems include “major electrical violations,“ and the partial installation of fire stops — which prevent smoke and heat from moving from one area to another.

In addition, the electrical system in the projection area is in “extremely poor condition" with signs of water intrusion or rust from age, according to the fire official. The inspection also revealed wires hanging out of electrical connections and boxes throughout the theater, Cardali said.

Levinson said he has run out of money and needs a loan for the repairs, but hopes to resolve everything by September or October.

“It’s caused me a lot of agita,” he said. “To me, it feels like they’d rather have an empty building there.”

Babylon Village resident Gary Weiner, 56, said he is “tremendously disappointed” the theater won’t open this summer because he had looked forward to seeing movies there with his teenage daughter.

“But things like electrical safety, that’s not a negotiable thing,” he said.

robboehm on March 20, 2024 at 11:41 am

Apparently this is still not a dead issue. The landscaping in front of the theatre has been refreshed for Spring. Handicapped parking spaces have been outlined by the entrance with appropriate signage attached to the building.

Wonder when the lease is up. May happen before the theatre finally reopens.

markp on March 21, 2024 at 12:03 pm

At the rate this is going, the theatre will reopen one month before the lease ends.

robboehm on May 13, 2024 at 8:09 pm

Standard sized doors are now labeled as emergency exits. There is also a green light above each. The one for Theatre One faces the parking lot and is at the eastern corner of the building. Three more doors are on the eastern wall of the theatre about 12 feet from the parking lot and are almost adjacent to each other. ??? I presume the doors on the building facing Montauk Highway, which are not labelled, will service all five auditoriums.

robboehm on June 16, 2024 at 1:34 pm

The three doors on the eastern wall, from the parking lot, are 2,5,4.

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