Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

August 12, 2022 REAL ESTATE

Cine-4 movie theater to become childhood learning center

Image | Contributed The Cine-4 theater at 25 Flint St., and 371 Middletown Ave. in New Haven.

An independent movie house in New Haven has closed its doors and will soon become an early childhood educational center.

The Cine-4 theater at 25 Flint St., and 371 Middletown Ave., was sold for $1.3 million by Soffer Associates out of Branford to the Friends Center for Children, in a deal recorded Aug. 8.

Theater owner Stuart Soffer could not be reached for comment.

The Friends Center is a year-round, full-time facility that provides early childhood care and education for children ages 3 months to 5 years, according to its website.

Image | Contributed
Friends Center for Children Executive Director Allyx Schiavone.

Executive Director Allyx Schiavone said the center has two other locations, on East Grand Avenue and Blake Street in New Haven, which will remain in operation.

The Cine-4 building will be renovated into the center’s central office, libraries, one screening room and teacher-training space.

The theater has 7,600 square feet of space and a large parking lot. Schiavone said she needs about 10,000 square feet of space for the new campus.

Plans call for two new buildings on the 1.9-acre property; one serving as the educational and learning center, modeled after the center’s East Grand Avenue location. Another new building would be a teacher-training facility, she said. 

Plans for the campus include turning some of the parking area into green space, Schiavone said, since the center has “a commitment to outdoor learning and bringing nature to children who live in cities and need outdoor space.”

She said this deal ends a years-long journey to find an appropriate space for the expanding childcare center’s needs. 

As of July 2022, the center serves about 120 students in two sites, with 39 staff members, four consultants, six interns, 12 board members and 16 advisory council members.

After the anticipated expansion, the center will grow to four sites, serving 360 children, with 118 staff members and 15 interns. 

The center’s expansion plans also include a partnership with ConnCORP, where a Friends Center for Children site will be located in the new ConnCORP Plaza on Dixwell Avenue in the Newhallville neighborhood of New Haven. That center, on the building’s ground floor, will house 20 preschoolers, 48 infants and toddlers and 27 educators.

The Cine-4 theater, built in 1971, sits on almost 2 acres near the North Haven border.

The property has an appraised value of $1 million, and was marketed as redevelopment space for a hotel or apartment complex.

Aside from the $1.3 million purchase price, Schiavone anticipates a multi-million-dollar investment for the renovation and new builds.

The center has an operating budget of about $3 million, and will explore a range of funding sources for the new campus, from state and federal grants to fundraising and donations.

The work to retrofit the Cine-4 building should begin this fiscal year, Schiavone said. The other projects, in order to qualify for state or federal funding, need to be “shovel ready,” before applying, so the construction planning phase – engineering and architectural designs – will begin as soon as possible, she said.

The expansion timeline runs through June 2027.

Contact Hanna at

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF