Photo by Paolo Mastrangelo)

Rumor has it the beloved Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street is the latest Lower East Side spot being shopped around to developers. According to the Real Deal, the theater is being "quietly marketed to developers with an asking price north of $35 million," and could become a residential site in the future. For now, some are just calling this "a nasty rumor," but removing culture for condos is par for the course for this neighborhood.

Sunshine (which is under the Landmark Theatres umbrella) opened almost 15 years ago inside of the historic circa-1898 building at 139-143 East Houston Street. It's one of the best movie theaters in New York, and one of the city's preeminent arthouse cinemas.

"Citing a need to keep up with rising rents, the theater’s operators sought a liquor license in 2012 hoping to follow in the footsteps of movie houses such as Williamsburg’s Nitehawk Cinema and the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers that add dinner and booze to the moviegoing experience.

The Lower East Side’s Community Board 3, however, had reservations about granting a full license to the 700-seat venue, instead preferring one that allowed for just beer and wine, according to reports."

Building owners have not commented yet, but TRD points out they have a "triple-net lease that runs through 2018, for which it pays an annual rent of about $200,000." This means their lease agreement designates the cinema as being solely responsible for all of the costs, in addition to the rent.

The lot has "roughly 56,000 square feet" of buildable space with "an inclusionary housing bonus."

The building does not appear to be landmarked.