Jacksonville building home to Sun-Ray Cinema, BREW up for sale – The Florida Times-Union

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The building that houses Sun-Ray Cinema, BREW Five Points and office spaces will be sold, the Times-Union confirmed Tuesday. 

Rumors swirled after an online petition said the Riverside building, at 1028 Park St., would be demolished and turned into a parking garage. Residents soon after began posting to social media and signing an action campaign to save the building. 

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the campaign had about 1,500 signatures.

But, because the building has a historic designation, established during the current owner’s development process, it cannot be torn down without approval from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission. 

The petition’s creator, Adam Guillette, said residents worried the designation would not hold because of renovations done to the building decades earlier.

“Jacksonville deserves to have at least one historic theater,” Guillette told the Times-Union.

Sun-Ray Cinema remodeled the space in 2011 and is a building tenant, not the owner. The business posted on Facebook saying the cinema owners spoke to the potential buyer in January and have not been offered a lease extension.

“Despite our attempts in the past to purchase just the theater portion of the building which is possible through a process called condominiumizing, they have turned us down,” the Facebook post read. “We have dreamed for years of renovating this theater into the gem  that it could be for the neighborhood, but it looks like that might never happen.” 

The business encouraged patrons to sign the action campaign, which sends an email directly to the owner. 

According to the Duval County Property Appraiser’s website, the building was last sold in 2004 to the current owners, 5 Points Theatre Building LLC., for $2 million.

The building owners said they would be honoring all existing leases, as required by law, when the building is sold and confirmed its landmark status meant it could not be turned into a parking garage.

“We’ve provided a home for dozens of small businesses [since the purchase in 2004],” the family owned company said in a statement. “After almost 20 years, it is time for us to sell the building to a new owner who can maintain that legacy.  After a long search, we have found a buyer with experience managing other historic properties throughout the southeast.

“We’re very proud to have played a small role in the ongoing history of 5 Points, and we’re excited to see what the future brings.”

Sun-Ray Cinema not currently set to close

The theater has a long history in the neighborhood after opening in 1927 as the Riverside Theatre, designed by Roy Benjamin, who also designed the Florida Theatre. It was remodeled in 1949, but closed as a theater in the early 1980s before an acting group took over in 1984. It then became a nightclub from 1991-2004. 

It once again returned as 5 Points Theatre in 2008 before being renovated in 2011 by the current owners. 

The cinema closed its adjacent Sun-Ray Cinema’s Pizza Cave in February after opening in 2020. The cinema owners, Tim Massett and Shana David-Massett, said they would open it as a private event space. 

‘We decided it’s best’:Five Points pizzeria closes. Here’s what’s next for the space

Tim Massett did not immediately return a request for comment. The Facebook post did not announce the cinema’s closure. 

The news comes after another historic theater, Art Deco San Marco Theatre, closed at the end of 2022.

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