First Selectman: Playhouse on Elm Street Likely To Get New Movie Operator This Year

The town-owned Playhouse on Elm Street likely will have a new movie theater operator installed this year, New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday. 

Vacated as per the termination of a agreement by longtime tenant Bow Tie Cinemas, the iconic 1923-built movie house will undergo some sorely needed capital work and then likely will get “an independent operator right now, in the next year, as far as a movie company,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “I think there are people that are interested operating [The Playhouse],” Moynihan said during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen, held via videoconference. “Not one of the big chains. So I think that is what we are most likely looking at. A different kind of model.”

The comments came as the selectmen reviewed a termination agreement from Bow Tie, which had been expected to rent the largest commercial space in the cupola-topped building through 2022, under the lease, with an option to renew through 2027. 

However, the theater was ordered closed in March as the COVID-19 pandemic set in and then “when they did get the order that they could open, they can’t open,” according to Bill Oestmann, building superintendent in the New Canaan Department of Public Works.

New Modular Building Planned for Transfer Station

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved a $1,200 contract for a Woodbury-based architect to plan for the foundation of a new pre-built modular building at the dump. It’s unclear what purpose will be served by the future structure planned for the Transfer Station. The director of the New Canaan Department of Public Works has talked recently of the need for a dedicated building to store road salt. 

The selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with Gary Nurnberger, Architect LLC at its Dec. 15 meeting, held via videoconference. The funds were approved as part of a standing Board agenda item on contracts valued at less than $10,000.