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My name is Charles Cohen, and I am president and CEO of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation, a company that began in the 1950s. We own and manage more than 12 million square feet of Class A design, retail and office space around the country. I have been visiting Palm Beach for 40 years, and my wife and I have been part-time residents on the island since 2009.
Last fall, I purchased the old Carefree Theatre at 2000 S. Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach and recently bought the adjacent parcel at 2100 S. Dixie Hwy. I look forward to reimagining the site to include a state-of-the-art film venue showing independent, classic and foreign films.
Highlights of the property, expected to open in 2019, will include:
This is a dream project for me — a transformative opportunity to do something really special for the El Cid historic neighborhood, the South Dixie Highway business corridor, the cultural landscape of Palm Beach County and a place that I consider home. I'm here, and I'm in this, for the long haul.
I'm not a merchant builder, and I've never sold anything. My mission has always been to create projects, including the Carefree, with staying power.
Although I'm a developer by trade, my passion is film. I directed short films in high school and college — and in the 1980s, I wrote a 1,000-question book of movie trivia. In 2008, I formed the Cohen Media Group, which is a production and distribution company. Presently, we are the largest distributor of French films in America, and several years ago I purchased a world-renowned collection of more than 700 classic films made from 1917 to 1972. We are systematically restoring and preserving these films and distributing them throughout America. We also produce feature films — most recently the 2015 documentary "Hitchcock/Truffaut." Additionally, I was the lead executive producer on 2008's Oscar-nominated "Frozen River."
Cohen Media Group is currently restoring the Quad Cinema, a beloved 44-year-old art house venue in Greenwich Village. We anticipate our renovations and technical upgrades will make the Quad an even more important destination for classic films and compelling new ones — and the moviegoers who love them.
I firmly believe that everything we do in life should be something that lasts beyond our time on Earth, and my dream for the Carefree is that it will enhance the community for many years to come.
Charles S. Cohen
I firmly believe that everything we do in life should be something that lasts beyond our time on Earth."
The Carefree was ‘the place’ for many years, to hang out, get a glass of wine before a show, have terrible popcorn, see a real full-size screen, and, if you caught the early show, watch the red velvet curtain rise! What a thrill!”
The Carefree was shabby, the seats weren't very comfortable, and for a 720-seat house there were only three stalls in the women's bathroom, but it was the only movie theatre at the time playing the 'art' and foreign films I loved. I'll always remember Joy, at the box office, answering the phone by saying, ‘Carefree Theatre. It's more than a name; it's an attitude!”
The most memorable times I spent at the Carefree were going to see those wonderful foreign movies, but best of all was dancing in the aisles with my friends whenever they had a Klezmer concert.”
The Carefree was a funky old place, but we loved it anyway. I remember standing in line in that long lobby waiting to get in and seeing people I knew. It was always a great time.”
One unique room the Carefree had was a baby room upstairs, where parents could take a crying baby and still watch the movie.”
Whenever there was a John Wayne movie playing, the people would be lined out the door and down the street. Also, when the movie ‘Airport’ came out, it played for almost eight weeks. I ended up seeing ‘Airport’ a total of 67 times!”