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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 42 (8)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 42
Page 42

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 42

cent during the same period. At the same time, an examination of 54 movie houses, without stores, in Manhattan shows 37 with a higher valuation for 1952-3 than for 1947-8. Yet, only 22 of these theatres sought lower assessed valuations during the April 1952 hearings of the Tax Commission and only four reductions were actually granted. Another straw in the Wind, indicative of the trend of theatre properties, is the number of applications filed with the Tax Department for reduction of the assessed valuations of theatre properties. This figure has risen from 215 such applications in 1946-7 to 326 in 1952-3, indicating a dissatisfaction with their assessed valuations by the owners of nearly half of all theatre properties (using the Tax Departmean definition which includes legitimate theatres, etc.).


Borough 1946-7 1952-3 Manhattan .. . .. 90 105 Brooklyn . . . . . . . 50 100 Bronx . . . . . . . . . 45 49 Queens . . . . . . . . :40 00

TOTAL .. . . . 215 1326

Higher Realty Taxes

When motion picture theatre property owners complain about rising costs beyond their control in the past five years, they can certainly cite the increase in the city's real estate taxes. A Manhattan borough study of taxes in 1947-8 vs. 1952-3 reveal many theatre properties, including those without stores or second floor offices, paying increases from 10 per cent to 50 per cent. Here are a few examples:

THEATRES SUCHKAS THE FINE ARTS in New York were built at the height of television growth.

Realty Realty Taxes Taxes 1947-8 1952-3

214 East 14th St. .$5,869.50 $7,966.50

52 West 8th St. .. 6,772.50 7,966.50 823 Third Ave. 1,685.60 2,203.50 1185 First Ave. .. 1,565.20 2,067.90 350 East 72nd so 2,046.80 3,051.00

Only three motion picture theatres in all Manhattan, this study shows, are in arrears on city realty taxes. One is on the lower east side, one on the midtown west side and one in West Harlem. The rest are paid-up. A partial check in other boroughs of the city shows few theatres in arrears.

Although almost 10 per cent of Manhattanls motion picture theatre property won lower assessed valuations in recent years in actions before the Supreme Court or the Tri-Board, for some reason assessors seem to retain the valuations at the original level. One example is the movie house at 171-5 Eighth Avenue, between 18th and 19th Streets. For the past four years the Valuation was set at $215,000. Yet, the reduction granted for each of these four years (1948-9 to 1951-2) was $45,000, bringing the assessed valuation down to $170,000. However, the 1952-3 assessed valuation is still at $215,000. A similar case is noted at 70 Greenwich Avenue. Here the owner won a reduction in valuation from $500,000 to $435,000 for three years (1948-9 to 1950-1), yet the 1952-3 assessed value is continued at $500,000. The same is true at 2700 Broadway where a Valuation of $520,000 for the past four years was reduced to $450,000. Here too the 1952-3 assessed value is continued at the old figure, namely $520,000.

LiHle Mortgage Trouble

Immediately Ahead for the Movies

A check with leading lending institutions holding mortgages on 58 operating theatres throughout the city reveal no signs of danger, except in two cases. One movie house is facing foreclosure and the other may be faced with foreclosure within the next year. An official of one of the cityis largest savings banks reported that all of his institutionls mortgages on motion picture theatres are in good shape. He added that they have been well amortized years ago and interest payments are being met promptly. He seemed proud of the fact that some movie house owners have installed air-conditioning systems at considerable cost without increasing their mortgages.

There are approximately 1200 retail shops located within motion picture theatre buildings throughout New York City. And the occupancy of these shops, even during the past six months, are generally regarded as better than other retail shops in the same general area. The drawing power of the motion picture theatre is still a dominant factor in the rental value of the retails shops. Inquiries made among many retailers in movie house property during this study, reveal no anxiety to move out of such premises, and into available stores. It should also be noted that there are more chain store branches of retail establishments in motion picture theatre buildings today, than five years ago. These facts should tend to dispel the feeling that any widespread collapse faces the motion picture theatres of New York City. It is a good omen for realty owners in general of movie house property.


From the foregoing survey, it is apparent that motion picture property has suffered to some degree during the last five years. Unquestionably television has had its iniiuence. Aside from the effects directly discernable in the figures for assessed valuations, theatres vacated, theatres converted to other uses, sales prices, etc., there are other indirect rsults of the new entertainment medium which do not lend themselves to precise evaluation. There is the claim by merchants that women purchase fewer dresses because they do not Hdress up" to view television as they do for movie-going. On the other hand, there was a minor booinlet in certain types of furniture and household accessories for use in connection with viewing television. On the whole, people seem to have become more Hhome consciousiy as a result of television, with potential benetits to retail stores selling household furnishings.

To sum it up, it appears that the number of motion picture theatres should stabilize close to the 500 figure for the five boroughs of New York City. in certain locations, closed theatres will be harmful to the business of neighborhood shops until the theatres covert into their useful purposes. Those that have been closed, or are headed for closing, are, for the most part, located in strongly competitive areas. For the sake of the neighborhoods involved, it would be well for real estate men to convert closed theatres.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 42