NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

May 17, 2013

Cabot Street Cinema in Beverly for sale

Magic show's former home on market for $1.35 million

BEVERLY — Cabot Street Cinema, the theater that has provided an elegant home for vaudeville, movies and magic shows for nearly a century, is for sale.

The sale was announced Wednesday by a Boston real estate company that has been hired to market the building. The asking price is $1.35 million.

The theater is owned by White Horse Productions, a group of eight shareholders who were part of the Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Show that ran for 35 years at the theater until the death of its founder last year.

David Bull, who played Le Grand David and is the president of White Horse Productions, said the company could no longer continue to operate two downtown theaters once the magic show ended. The company also owns the Larcom Theatre, which it will retain and keep open.

“There were probably 40 to 50 people in the company when we bought the Larcom in 1984, so there was plenty of work for all of those shoulders to lean into,” Bull said. “Now it’s a different time. Maybe a dozen of us are still around.”

The announcement of the sale immediately made the theater’s fate the most important issue facing the downtown. The building, located at 286 Cabot St., includes not only the 800-seat theater but retail and office space on the first and second floors.

Mayor Bill Scanlon said he is hoping a new owner will step forward and keep it operating as a theater.

“There are no guarantees,” he said. “But I don’t think (the owners) are in any kind of desperate situation. They can seek out a buyer who can use the property in a way that’s good for the community.”

Gin Wallace, executive director of Beverly Main Streets, said she hopes a new owner can keep the theater going while bringing new retail or restaurants to the rest of the space.

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