The Strand Theater is Sold

By WBNG News

November 23, 2010 Updated Nov 23, 2010 at 10:15 PM EDT

Will a new owner lift the curtain on the Strand Theater in Binghamton?

The building that has been vacant for thirty years was sold at auction.

Action News Reporter Lindsay Nielsen was there for the bidding.

The former Strand Theater at 27 Chenango Street has been closed since 1980.

The most recent owner decided to auction it off through Mapes Benjamin Real Estate Auction Company.

"There's no income coming into them from this building, restaurant's closed and they said they just want to move it on," said David Mapes of Mapes Benjamin Real Estate Auction Company.

The building was built back in the early 1900's as a vaudeville house and later became a silent theater.

In the 1970's it became an X-rated movie house.

The bidding began between two potential buyers at just $10,000.

The highest bid Tuesday went to an anonymous bidder at $23,000 dollars ,but add the down payment buyers premium, and the final sale was $24,200 dollars.

The new owner is allowed to do whatever he chooses with the building.

Some people at the auction are excited about what the sale means for the building.

"The purchase price is doesn't really mean anything what the real cost is going to be in refurbishing the building and getting it habitable," says Roger Luther, President of the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier.

Brodey Bowers lost the bidding war but still wants the building to bring good things to the city.

"I really felt called to come down here today just give all the money that I had in my bank account for this building to restore hope into the City of Binghamton," says Bowers.

PAST's President says in recent years, there has been a lot of interest in historic buildings like the Strand.

"They can gut out the theater or gut the restaurant right out and then who knows put offices or whatever they're gonna do," said David Mapes.

The Art and Mission Theater originally had interest in the building.

The group did not get a grant it had hoped to use for bidding.

In Binghamton, Lindsay Nielsen, WBNG TV Action News.

The Strand Theater first opened in 1920.

The first floor was used as a restaurant and most of the equipment is still there.

The new buyer will see a closing within 45 days.

He chose not to give his name or comment on his new purchase.

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