Islington’s historic Screen on the Green cinema, due to be auctioned on March 9, has been sold to an unknown buyer in a surprise advance sale.
The £1.4m cinema, built in 1913, was due to be sold at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, at a much-publicised auction this week.
However, it was revealed via auctioneer Jones Lang LaSalle’s website that the property had been snapped up earlier in the month. Jones Lang LaSalle refused to reveal the identity of the mystery buyer, causing concern about the future of the famous Upper Street cinema.
Leaseholders Everyman Cinemas said that business was “booming”, despite residents’ worries that the sale of the building to another proprietor might provoke redevelopment when the cinema’s lease expires in 2035.
“The cinema is busier than it’s ever been. We’ve just spent a good few hundred thousand pounds redoing our cinemas, and our commitment to Screen on the Green is bigger than ever,” said Paul Wise, chairman of the cinema’s board.
“It’s highly unlikely that the building will be redeveloped. It’s an iconic building so I’m not sure that would be possible and 25 years is a long way away.” Islington Town Hall confirmed that the new owner will not be granted permission to develop the property so as to end its cinema function, unless this is replaced with a similar facility.
Screen on the Green, a Grade A listed property, has just launched a string of comedy nights which will feature Never Mind the Buzzcocks funny man Phil Jupitus.
The iconic venue is also in the running to stage the premiere of Brit artsy flick The Disappearance of Alice Creed.
Image credit – wikimedia.org