Madison Borough Inquiry to Buy Theater Building Rejected, New Theater A Possibility

Owner of the Madison movie theater building will not sell to the town but may lease the property to a theater company. Credits: Lindsay Ireland

MADISON, NJ – The new owner of the Madison movie theater building is not interested in selling, according to Borough Administrator Ray Codey, but there still may be hope for a cinematic comeback on Lincoln Place.

Current theater building owner Saxum Real Estate said it may lease the property to another theater company, and talks between the two are “continuing,” Codey said.

At Monday’s meeting, Codey spoke on behalf of Madison council members, who were advised not to comment on the theater’s future by Borough Attorney Michael Giacobbe.

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Borough representatives in recent weeks met with members of Saxum Real Estate “to reinforce how important the theater is to Madison residents” and gauge the owner's interest in selling the property if any parties want to buy, Codey said. The borough itself has no current plans to buy back the theater, he said. 

Saxum said it would not sell, not even “at a premium” over the $1.7 million it paid for the property in February, according to Codey.

“Even if they wish to sell,” Codey said, “New Jersey law currently does not allow a public body to pay above market value” for this particular property. 

Madison's meeting with Saxum representatives came in response to the borough's acceptance of a local petition to save the theater after its sudden closure on Memorial Day Weekend. The petition now has more than 1,700 signatures both online and on paper, according to petitioner Sandy Kolakowski.

Petitioners asked Madison to provide “emergency interim funding to rescue the theater and allow community groups to develop a plan for its use as a not-for-profit movie, arts and cultural center,” but in light of the borough’s meeting with Saxum, it looks as if these plans may develop into something different.

Though Saxum representatives “indicated it will be months before they submit any application,” Codey said, they did say that potential renovations to the building are being considered if a lease with the theater company is signed.

Under this approach, the Madison theater could be potentially transformed into “a full-service, state-of-the-art movie theater with food and beverage service at your seat,” Codey said.

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