Following public hearing, Suffolk Theater expansion awaits site plan approval

The Suffolk Theater is one site plan approval away from seeing its long-awaited expansion move forward. 

The iconic East Main street Art Deco theater, which was built in 1933, is seeking to expand in order to attract bigger music and performance acts. The theater also wants a revenue stream from apartment rentals and is seeking approval for retail stores planned for the lower level of the facility, according to Victor Prusinowski, a consultant for owners Bob and Diane Castaldi.

Like so many local businesses, the theater struggled has struggled financially for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now seeking news ways to grow the business.  

The new proposal, if fully approved, will include a 59-foot addition to the back of the building for the purposes of constructing an expanded backstage area. That new area would include dressing rooms, green rooms, restrooms, a kitchenette, and other accessory space. Additional space will total approximately 2,970 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 28 apartments on upper floors, including twenty studio units and eight one-bedroom units. Also proposed are parking, lighting and landscaping improvements.

Mr. Prusinowki, a former town councilman who has long been an advocate for preserving the theater back, said “I’ve been involved in this project for over 20 years, even when I was on the Town Board,” at a public hearing held last week. 

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the Suffolk Theater and the Long Island Aquarium “are our anchors downtown.”

The hearing was the final step before site plan approval.