Historic Squire Theater may soon be new multifaceted business named Lounge X

Historic Squire Theater may soon be new multifaceted business named Lounge X
The Squire Theater may be getting a makeover if new owner Lounge X LLC gets their new business approved by the Village of Great Neck Plaza. (Photo by Karina Kovac)

The historic Squire Theater, an entertainment fixture in Great Neck, has been through many hands in recent years. The theater, which dates back to 1935, has witnessed various transformations and owners, but it closed its doors a year and a half after MovieWorld, a family-owned company, took over in 2020.

Now, new owner Kenix Wang is seeking to turn the theater into an event space and golf simulator facility.

The closure after MovieWorld’s takeover was attributed to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the theater facing six months of generating no revenue while still being burdened with bills, according to a statement from the owners released in September 2020.

Wang, owner of Lounge X LLC, has ambitious plans for the space. He envisions turning the theater into an event and golf simulator space with a cafe, backed by an investment of $4 to $5 million. Wang told the Village of Great Neck Plaza during the latest new business hearing on Oct. 18 that he was eager to revitalize the area.

“It was a great town, great area,” he said, “That’s why we moved in here, and it’s very sad for people to close down. But I think the business that we’re proposing, we bring flow.”

He said for him, a theater is “not the way to go” and that he’d prefer driving 20 to 30 minutes to see movies at a high-tech theater.

His plan includes turning the first level of the theater into a cafe and event space with a newly installed commercial kitchen for in-house catering where Theater Four was located. Upstairs would be about eight golf simulators and three putting greens.

While Weng’s vision for the theater’s future includes fixing the marques, the fate of the iconic name “Squire” remains uncertain, as Weng has pushed for Lounge X to remain the proposed name. Mayor Ted Rosen and other trustees have urged Weng to consider retaining the name, emphasizing its historical significance and what connotation “X” might bring to the business.

“Squire may be nice…the name Squire goes back many years,” Rosen said. “If you tell people to go to Squire Theater, they know where it is.  If  you tell them to go to the street address, they’re going to say ‘where is that?’,” Rosen said.

“The Squire name extends way over just Great Neck,” said Deputy Mayor Pamela Marksheid. “It goes to a lot of different communities so it could attract a lot more people.”

Weng said he would consider the change, but likes “X,” which is a newer generational marketing tool he told the board.

The Squire Theater has a storied past. It began as a single-screen theater and, in the early 1980s, expanded to accommodate three screens. By 1998, it boasted seven screens after being acquired by Clearview Cinemas. MovieWorld acquired the Squire Theater from Bow Tie Cinemas in April 2019.

Throughout the years, the Squire Theater forged partnerships with neighbor the Gold Coast Arts Center, collaborating in the past for film festivals showing independent and foreign films, as well as Q & A sessions with filmmakers.

The property has been described as a “prime location on Middle Neck Road, a well known commercial street with 148 feet of frontage…Built in 1935 the building is in sound structural condition and the space can be built to meet all kinds of user needs. Great investment opportunity for limited retail space in a highly sought after area,” by LoopNet, a commercial real estate marketplace.

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  1. Let Mr. Wang change the name and revitalize the area. People are smart enough to find it. Don’t insult their intelligence. People can still find the Triboro Bridge even though it is now the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. As for history, people have memories. I can find the location of Frederick’s despite it’s now housing the Great Neck Diner.


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