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Greenwich Village’s Quad Cinema Sold to Film-Loving Real Estate Developer

Greenwich Village’s Quad Cinema has changed hands and will undergo an extensive renovation, according to its new owner, real estate developer Charles S. Cohen.

The Quad could use a facelift, but it enjoys a decades-long history and the distinction of becoming the city’s first four-screen movie theater when it opened in 1972.

Cohen plans to transform the facility into a repertory house, featuring films from the Cohen Film Collection. It’s a library that boasts 700 works by the likes of D.W. Griffith, Buster Keaton, Jean-Luc Godard, W.C. Fields and Alfred Hitchcock, and the exhibitions will include talks and lectures pegged to the movies being shown.

In addition to film classics, the theater will also play foreign and indie titles.

“We feel the indie film community is underserved in terms of the number of screens there are in Manhattan,” said Cohen. “The proximity to [New York University] means there will be a natural audience of film lovers.”

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The Quad will begin a top-to-bottom renovation in 2015, Cohen said, and will be outfitted with the latest in digital projection and sound. One screen will still be able to show film prints. The name will remain unchanged.

It marks Cohen’s third foray into theatrical exhibition, having previously overseen the renovation of New York’s Academy Theater at Lighthouse International and the building of the SilverScreen Theater inside the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Cohen said the theater’s original owner, Maurice Kanbar, turned down higher offers for the property because he was persuaded the developer would be a good steward.

“This is a passionate labor of love for me,” said Cohen. “It was his baby and I’m the new parent.”

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