Flushing’s RKO Keith’s to Become Condos

posted by mp775 on February 27, 2004 at 9:17 am

FLUSHING, NY — Boymelgreen Developers, who bought the RKO Keith’s in 2002 from developer Tommy Huang, will demolish the theater and build a 19-story mixed-use tower on the site called RKO Plaza.

According to a report, entitled Place of Escape May Survive, Behind Glass (reg. required), which appeared in Wednesday’s New York Times, Huang had previously demolished part of the auditorium and had allowed 200 gallons of heating oil to leak into the building. The proposed development would include 250 condominium apartments, restaurants, retail, a senior citizens center, and a 260-space parking garage.

The lobby, which is landmarked, would be preserved behind a 45,000 pound, 50' high, 100' wide glass curtain wall on the proposed building’s frontage on Northern Boulevard; architectural appointments salvaged from the theater would be displayed in an exhibit in the new building.

Theaters in this post

Comments (10)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 27, 2004 at 10:56 am

Happily, on Monday night (2/23/04) Community Board 7 in Flushing voted UNANIMOUSLY to REJECT the developer’s latest proposal for the re-development of the RKO Keith’s Theatre, according to a story in the NY Daily News of 2/26/04, page QLI 7. The developer now has to come up with a different proposal or take legal action against the Board’s decision. In either case, this matter promises to drag on for more years to come.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 27, 2004 at 1:10 pm

Here’s a link to the NY Daily News article you mentioned, Warren:
View link

After reading both articles, it doesn’t appear that the decision is a setback for this project. As you can see in this comment, the community board is likely to approve the project once its concerns are addressed:

"We love the project, but it is just too big. What was supposed to be a minimum variance turned out to be a radical variance," said Chuck Apelian, vice chairman of the board and chairman of a special board committee that met with the developer over the past year in hopes of striking a deal that all would be happy with.

Too, 2006, the expected completion date, isn’t very far away…

mp775
mp775 on February 27, 2004 at 2:50 pm

The Community Board’s decision is not binding on the developer. No legal action against the CB is necessary.

FrankCastle
FrankCastle on May 17, 2004 at 7:13 pm

The idiot who destroyed the interior of that theatre should be hung on main street! What a disaster. That place should have been preserved with landmark status and made into a museum. What a great place to watch a movie. Of course most of the people who live there now weren’t around, probably not even in this COUNTRY, when it was open. What a sad, sad outcome for such a glorious palace…

maryprice
maryprice on December 29, 2004 at 11:55 am

I worked that theatre for five years. I knew the manager, assistant manager, ushers,candy counter workers, projectionist, electrician etc…I watched people by the thousands come past the box office and wonder at the beauty inside. I am appauled at the lack of respect for old Flushing and this is an example of nailing the coffin shut. Shame on everyone involved in it’s destruction.

lnessenzia
lnessenzia on March 18, 2005 at 10:37 pm

i agree with cashiergirl. i worked there too. this was a magnificant theatre.

NativeForestHiller
NativeForestHiller on December 15, 2005 at 11:21 pm

Sadly, everything revolves around money and politics. This is a horrendous shame!!! They have so much $$$, why couldn’t they have restored/rebuilt the facade in its entirety, & incorporated that into the project? I admire the interior space, but what good is it without the facade? IT’S A HEAD WITH AN EXTRACTED BRAIN!!!!!!!

It is purely ironic as to how society of today supposed to be soooo technologically advanced, but in the meantime, they can’t build with much attention to intricate detail & precision. Today the motto for most buildings is “I’ll throw up a bunch of bricks, glass, steel, and what-not, & build my CONCRETE JUNGLE even higher than the Joneses!”

SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

maryprice
maryprice on December 16, 2005 at 6:12 am

I wonder if anyone involved with the new project will even try to recreate the old theater lobby. What will they draw on for expertise. Or will it be a matter of “well this will work” and leave it at that. With all the money and commerce in downtown Flushing it would be, with a little effort, a bonus for everyone to restore some of the graciousness that Flushing was and that the RKO epitomized.

Please think obout it guys!

margatemanor
margatemanor on May 15, 2006 at 6:25 am

when you let in illegal asian and middle eastern immigrants and you let them take over whole communities this is what you get…queens and especially flushing is not the place we all grew up in..you cannot expect people from other cultures to care about what we cared about..to them it is just a building and nothing more…we have ourselves to blame for all the great things we knew as young people dissappearing!!

pprada
pprada on January 31, 2010 at 6:49 pm

i have an idea why dont we all make a petion to have it re built as a museium the city has the blue prints to it we can get thousands of signatures n we could win as a kid i wached two movies in that place im 32 i wached mia chuck noris n my frist was sater day night fever

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