Sag Cinema Plans Okayed, Now for the Money

Allen Kopelson, an architect with NK Architects, at a Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting earlier this spring. Jamie Bufalino

The building plans for the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center received approval from the village’s board of historic preservation and architectural review last Thursday, bringing the project one step closer to breaking ground.

The center had previously received the support of the planning and zoning boards, but the quest to receive a building permit is not quite complete. “The next step is construction drawings will be submitted to the village’s Building Department,” said Susan Mead, the treasurer of the Sag Harbor Partnership, the not-for-profit organization that is overseeing the development of the cinema. The Building Department will then review the plans to make sure they are in compliance with the conceptual drawings the village boards had signed off on. 

The biggest hurdle for the partnership, which spent last year amassing the money to buy the cinema, continues to be fund-raising. Ms. Mead said that the organization had accumulated $1 million in donations dedicated to construction and had received another $300,000 to $400,000 in pledges. Construction will not start, however, until the goal of raising $3 million by July 1 has been reached. “The responsible thing to do is to set the goal, raise the money, and then begin construction,” said Ms. Mead, adding that she was cautiously optimistic about meeting the goal on schedule. 

A private cocktail party is being held next week to raise money for the cinema, and a yard sale benefit will take place on May 19 at Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor.

When construction finally does begin, Ms. Mead said that the group intends to be conscientious about avoiding any unnecessary disruption on Main Street. “We will be working with the merchants and everyone else to minimize the impact,” she said. J.B.