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Do you think AMC keeping the Loews, Cineplex Odeon, Star & Magic Johnson name on the buildings has anything to do with the Screenvision Advertising & Fandango Ticketing contracts that Loews Cineplex entered into right before the merger agreement with AMC?
Rode by this past weekend and all the signage on the outside of the theatre complex still says LOEWS, wonder when they will change it to the AMC nameplate?
It’s so sad to see this as just a hole in the ground, where the Marboro once was. They can demolish the theatre itself, but they cannot demolish our memories that we have of this place and all of the great movies we saw here growing up.
Unfortunately not of trace of the Fortway exists in the inside of the former fiveplex, where the Great Wall Supermaket now resides. But as you can tell from VinnyBrooklyn’s photos, at least they somewhat preserved the Marquee for the supermarkets sign.
The movie theatre Tony Manero (John Travolta) walks under in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever was the Benson Twin, which was next to the Chase Manhattan Bank off of 20th Avenue and 86th Street, not the Loew’s Oriental, but you also can see the Loew’s Oriental in the very start of the film, when the B train is zooming by, it’s way off in the distance of that shot.
Didn’t Cineplex Odeon also come in and take over the Loew’s Metropolitan once Loews Theatres didn’t want to run it anymore?
Cineplex Odeon ran the Fortway, Kenmore, Kingsway, Metropolitan for many years when no other chain would come near these older houses in Brooklyn.
Originally the theatre was made into a twin in the mid 70’s by splitting the orchestra and balcony sections.
Later in the early 80’s the balcony was split into two thus creating a triplex theatre. Two theatres above and a single theatre underneath.
I had the unique opportunity today to attend the 1:00 P.M. tour of the Loew’s Paradise today and let me tell you, words cannot express how astonishing this place is, you need to see it to believe it. I would encourage anyone who is the least bit curios about the Loew’s Paradise to try to attend these tours, they are quite remarkable Mr. Lopes should be commended on his efforts for getting the tours of the Loew’s Paradise off the ground and running. Thank You Loew’s Paradise Management and Mr. Lopes for a splendid tour!
I had the unique opportunity today to attend the 1:00 P.M. tour of the Loew’s Paradise today and let me tell you, words cannot express how astonishing this place is, you need to see it to believe it. I would encourage anyone who is the least bit curios about the Loew’s Paradise to try to attend these tours, they are quite remarkable! Mr. Lopes should be commended on his efforts for getting the tours of the Loew’s Paradise off the ground and running. Thank You Loew’s Paradise Management and Mr. Lopes for a splendid tour!
Here is a recent article about the future of the Marboro from the Courier Life Newspaper:
Run-Down Marboro Movie House Waits For Next Act
Retail & Office Space to Take Over Marboro Movie House
By Charles Hack
The site of the grand old Marboro Movie Theatre that entertained Bensonhurst residents by the thousands for seven decades but became a home for squatters and pigeons is set to start a new life as offices and commercial space.
The renovation couldnâ€™t happen soon enough, say residents who argue that the building at 6817 Bay Pkwy. has become a blight in the neighborhood since its closure in July 2002.
But movie enthusiasts wanted the building to be restored as a movie theater as the owners had once planned.
Philips International, which bought the building in December, plans to develop Ethan Plaza with ground-floor retail and offices or medical uses on the upper floors. They expect the building to be occupied in April 2008.
According to a listing by Massey Knakal Realty Services, the proposed development includes 61,7000 square feet of office space.
Offices are planned on three levels, with the penthouse at the top floor having a roof terrace.
United Artists Theatre Group sold the property to Marboro, LLC, a Philips International Holding company based at 295 Madison Ave. in Manhattan, on Dec. 19, 2005 for $10.3 million.
United Artists Theatres had sold it to United Artists Theatre Group for a nominal fee of $10 in June 2003, under whose ownership it had languished in a state of limbo and disrepair.
Rumors that it was to be renovated as a theater did not materialize. United Artists had received a permit from the Department of Buildings to repair and upgrade the existing theater. The permit was originally filed in 2003 and re-filed as recently as March 2005.
Howard Feuer, district manager of Community Board 11, said that the proposed commercial development is as of right, and welcomed that the site is to be redeveloped.
â€œWe would have liked the movie theater to have come back. That was our hope,â€ said Feuer. â€œBut that didnâ€™t happen for a very long time. It is not good to have such a large block with nothing going on. This is the best alternative to a theater.â€
He also said that the scale of the proposed building is in keeping with the surrounding community, and the developers would not be coming to the board requesting a variance.
â€œThis is not a grand project that will really dwarf the community,â€ said Feuer. â€œThey are not looking for any special privileges.â€
But ever since it closed the theater has been a problem for the community. In August 2005 the Buildings Department received a complaint saying that the vacant movie house has been closed for several years and is now being inhabited by homeless people, pigeons, and â€œother kinds of nuisances.â€
Complaints that the building was left open and unguarded go back to 2003.
â€œIt goes through periodic states of disrepair,â€ Feuer said. â€œThere is no alarm on the front door, leaving the possibility that someone can pry open the door and get in.â€
Dennis Montesi, the president of the 83rd Street Block Association at Stillwell Avenue, said he recently saw several homeless people entering and leaving through the front door of the building, which has been busted open several times over the years.
â€œItâ€™s an eyesore to the community,â€ Montesi said. â€œGod forbid if someone sets it alight. The apartments alongside would burn. It would be a disaster here.â€
â€œIt should be cleaned out and sealed up,â€ Montesi said.
The theater, designed by prolific theater architect Charles Sandblom, has a long history. Records show that a certificate of occupancy was issued for a 2,246 seat theater, stores and offices in 1928. Another one was issued in 1979, but this time it was for a four screen theater with a total seating capacity for 1,453 customers.
Calls to Phillips International were not returned in time for publication.
Feuer said he feels nostalgia for his youth when he would watch double features at this and other former movie houses. This is something his 18-year-old daughter has not had a chance to enjoy, he said.
He sent several letters to the previous owners, requesting that they reopen it as a movie house.
â€œWe had a lot of big theaters in Brooklyn and now we have none,â€ said Feuer. â€œItâ€™s really unfortunate but life goes on. We will have good tenants bringing revenue to West 10th Street and Bay Parkway.â€
Montesi said the permanent closure of the theater was one more in a string of losses to Bensonhurst, which has included bowling alleys, film theaters, supermarkets and other amenities. This leaves little for seniors and youth to do, he said.
â€œWhat else are they going take away?â€ Montesi said. â€œItâ€™s out of control.â€
Given the fact that the Kingsway sold for Five Million in 2000 & the Fortway sold for just over 4 million last year, Ten million does seem kind of high, however Massey Knakal is asking Fifteen million for the Alpine site. Real Estate prices just keep going higher & higher.
It just seems really impossible to operate a movie theatre in Brooklyn for the fact that the land on which it sits on has become such a valuable commodity in today’s Real Estate market.
The New York City Department of Finanace Office of the City Register Automated City Register Information System or ARCRIS. If you look under property records, then by parcel indentifier the borough is Brooklyn and the block is 6575, the lot is 1. you will then see a document for assigment of the deed for that amount. Regal was simply waiting for the highest bidder to come along for the property & they got over 10 million for it.
Using the ACRIS system you can look up what any former theatre sold for, its all a matter of public record.
The UA Marboro Quad had been sold by United Artists Theatre Group LLC to PL Marboro LLC For the sum of Ten Million Three Hundred Thousand Dollars (10,300,000.00) included in the bill of sale is a provision that prohibits the property from being operated as a Motion Picture Theatre for a twenty year period.
So much for a replacement movie theatre for the Marboro, Thanks Regal Entertainment Group for getting rid of the last surviving Movie Theatre in Bensonhurst Brooklyn & giving us another office complex.
Here are some quotes from AMC Chairman Peter Brown which appeared in Variety:
While the merger was seen as a signpost in the wave of consolidation sweeping exhibition, AMC chief exec Peter Brown, who will lead the new company, said, “We’ve never been fixated on the bigger concept as much as we’ve been fixated on the better concept.”
Brown said current Loews theaters will continue to operate under their current name, but added, “Over time, we’ll end up with just one brand”
Anyone care to guess just which brand that will be?
There now is a sign on the Marboro Marquee that reads:
Coming Soon * Built To Suit
Office Space For Rent
Massey Knakal Realty Services
Jeffrey A. Shalom
Director of Sales
This is the same Real Estate Firm that sold the Fortway Theatre last year & is in the process of selling the Alpine Theatre now. Oh Well, I guess the dream of a new movie theatre replacing the Marboro is finally over. Good Bye Marboro Theatre, Hello Office Space.
Another article from the Bay Ridge Courier, regarding the fight to save the Alpine:
Preservationists Vow to Save the Alpine Theater
By Helen Klein
Residents of Bay Ridge were hardly happy to hear last week that the Alpine Theatre, the areaâ€™s last movie theater, plans to shut its doors next year.
Bad news enough that the Alpine â€" a vital part of the communityâ€™s fabric for 84 years — is about to become history. Also making preservationists in the community seethe is word that the owners of the Alpine, who also had owned the now-shuttered Fortway Theater on Fort Hamilton Parkway, had sold that theater with a deed restriction preventing it from be used as a movie theater in the future.
Activists say they donâ€™t want to see both the areaâ€™s historic theaters go, and are vowing to save the Alpine â€" which is now for sale through Massey Knakal Realty for $10 million — if at all possible, even though the theaterâ€™s lease agreement with Loewâ€™s Cineplex is expected to end in early 2006, with no renewals anticipated..
â€œIf the Fortway canâ€™t be saved for the purpose of a theater,â€ proclaimed City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, â€œthen we want to redouble our efforts to see if the Alpine can be saved.â€
â€œPeople are really upset about the theater,â€ remarked Victoria Hofmo, the chair of Gentileâ€™s preservation committee, and the founder of the Bay Ridge Conservancy, a preservation group. â€œEverybody is talking about it. Kids are really upset. To have two original movie theaters, thatâ€™s a treasure. We should protect them. They are the sort of generational things that make neighborhoods places for all ages. I donâ€™t think anybody had an inkling that this was going to happen.â€
Kari Neering, a spokesperson for Massey Knakal, said that it was too early to say what the future use of the site might be. â€œAt this point,â€ she noted, â€œthere are endless possibilities. Itâ€™s very early in the marketing stage, and a lot of ideas are being tossed around. No one has said absolutely it wonâ€™t be a theater, but thereâ€™s no way of knowing for certain without having a concrete buyer.â€
The putative sale restriction on the Fortway had definitely raised hackles even before the Alpine was put up for sale.
Gentile was one of those who queried the rationale behind it. Noting, â€œI have it on an informational basis, from a good source, that it was a clause in the sale,â€ he contended, â€œIt doesnâ€™t make sense to me to have it in there if the ultimate intention was also to get rid of the Alpine. Everyone thought it was part of the sale of the Fortway so the Alpine would have exclusivity. It doesnâ€™t make sense if the same owner is now trying to unload the Alpine.â€
Hofmo also questioned the reasoning behind restricting the use of the Fortway, if the owner of both theaters planned to turn around and sell the Alpine, too. â€œWhat is the motive?â€ she asked. â€œThe only thing I can think of is that someone wants to put in a multiplex.â€
The theaterâ€™s impending closure will hit Fifth Avenue hard, said Basil Capetanakis, president of the Fifth Avenue Board of Trade. â€œWe are very disappointed,â€ he remarked. â€˜Itâ€™s the only theater in the area, and we wonder whatâ€™s going to go in there. We lost Kleinfeldâ€™s, which was a big draw to the avenue, and now we are going to lose the theater. We really need some kind of retail business that will bring traffic into the area. The avenue looks nice. The holiday lights are up, and now this has to come up.â€
â€œItâ€™s a destabilizing thing for the business area,â€ agreed Hofmo.
The theaterâ€™s closing will also negatively impact area youth, noted Craig Eaton, the chairperson of Community Board 10. â€œWeâ€™ve taken a real aggressive approach with the Youth Committee to try to identify different things we can provide to children in the community to keep them off the streets,â€ Eaton noted. â€œMy feeling is, the more you have to entertain and occupy the time of children and young adolescents, the less trouble they can get into.
â€œGroups of teens hanging out on Third Avenue, Fifth Avenue and 86th Street, in my opinion, can only lead to trouble,â€ Eaton went on, noting with the closure of the two theaters, as well as the neighborhood bowling alley, â€œMy fear is that there is nothing for children and young adolescents.â€ Senior citizens will also lose out when the Alpine closes, Eaton added, saying he had been told by the manager that seniors flock to the theater during the day. â€œWeâ€™re taking away a good form of entertainment and it concerns me,â€ he concluded.
Gentile said that, as part of an effort to save the theater, his office had already gotten in touch with the theaterâ€™s current owner, Jeffrey Deneroff, to, â€œSee if he wants to keep the property, if we can be helpful, or if he can help us find someone, or a conglomerate, who would be interested in keeping it as a theater.â€
Gentile also said that his office had contacted Loews Cineplex. â€œThey know the site very well,â€ he noted, â€œand they too agree that it would be in the communityâ€™s best interest to keep the local theater alive. Itâ€™s just a matter of economic viability for a theater to remain at the location.â€
To that end, Gentile said he was, â€œLooking to fund people who have an interest in purchasing the property and keeping it as a theater. The question is how to make it economically viable for the new owner to make a go of it. Thatâ€™s what we are exploring at this point.â€
One problem, Gentile pointed out, is that the Alpine is, â€œExtremely old and somewhat in disrepair, so the new owner would have to make a significant investment to rehabilitate the structure. Even with the volume of moviegoers who now use the Alpine, because of the rehabilitation costs, plus the rising assessment of property, you really need a high volume of revenue to come in, in order to make it viable.â€
The Alpine is located at 6817 Fifth Avenue
Here is an article regarding the Sale from the Bay Ridge Courier:
Thatâ€™s a Wrap: Alpine Cinema to be Sold
By Thomas Tracy
Realtors Massey Knakal is currently asking $10 million for the Alpine Theater, which is expected to close its doors by spring, 2006.
The Alpine Movie Theater in Bay Ridge is drawing its final curtain. As this paper went to press, the property, located at 6817 5th Avenue, was up for sale. At the same time, the theaterâ€™s lease agreement with Loewâ€™s Cineplex was expected to end in early 2006, with no renewals anticipated. By spring, the Alpine will be no more, following the fate of the Fortway Theater on Fort Hamilton Parkway, which was sold earlier this year and may soon open as a neighborhood school.
Massey Knakal, the realtor which sold the Fortway and is currently shopping the Alpine around, hopes to get $10 million for the 48â€™ X 200â€™ irregular lot that opens on 5th Avenue but takes up most of Bay Ridge Avenue between 5th and 6th avenues. â€œThis investment or large retail/office conversion is a one in a lifetime opportunity,â€ according to the sales pitch, which adds that the premises â€œwill be delivered vacant.â€
Officials at Massey Knakal said that it was â€œunclear if the building will remain a theater.â€
Calls to Loewâ€™s Cineplex as to why they were not renewing their lease with the Alpine were not returned by press time.
Originally a Loewâ€™s theater, the Alpine first opened on June 6, 1921.
All told, the property and building costs just reached $420,000, according to records.
At the time, the Carlson & Wiseman-designed edifice was the first Loewâ€™s theater anywhere with its entire seating capacity (2,200) on one floor, without a balcony or gallery.
Historians said the stage had no fly gallery or gridiron, but had an apron just large enough to accommodate a vocalist or musical instrumentalist between film showings.
Variety described the Alpineâ€™s interior as â€œdecorated in a tan and gold color scheme, the general atmosphere created being one of brightness. The side walls are paneled and painted in an imitation of tapestry.â€
The floors of the theater were â€œcarpeted with red velvetâ€ according to the description.
The first movie shown at the theater was Paramountâ€™s â€œCity of Silent Menâ€ with music provided by a resident orchestra of twelve.
At the time, admission was a quarter.
Today, the Alpine is considered one of the boroughâ€™s cheapest movie theaters at $8.75 a ticket.
Over the decades, the large theater was cut down and sectionalized, now showing eight movies on any given day.
This weekâ€™s selection includes â€œHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,â€ and â€œChicken Little.â€
Here is the article mentioned in YankeeMike’s Post:
New York Daily News:
Credits to roll?
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Friday, December 2nd, 2005
It could be the last picture show for Bay Ridge.
Alpine Cinema, the neighborhood’s last remaining movie theater, went up for sale at $10 million this week, setting off a chorus of boos from local elected officials and merchants.
“We need to have a local movie theater in the neighborhood,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge). “When you start taking away theaters that people can walk to, it destroys the ambience and small-town character.”
Merchants on bustling Fifth Ave. said they feared a drop in business, especially because the likely closing would come on the heels of bridal gown-seller Kleinfeld’s move to Manhattan.
“Obviously, I’m very saddened – it’s the last movie theater in Bay Ridge,” said Fifth Avenue Board of Trade President Basil Capetanakis. “But for us, when people go to the movies they also go to the restaurants and the shops.”
The announcement comes six months after the 76-year-old Fortway Theater screened its last movie. Both theaters were owned by Jeffrey Deneroff.
Speculation on what will replace the 49,000-square-foot Alpine varied from highly prized space for schools to a grocery store – both badly needed in the area, said officials.
It was unclear whether the current leaseholder would be allowed to renew when the lease expires next year, said Kari Neering, a spokeswoman for real estate firm Massey Knakal.
“I doubt it will remain a theater,” said Neering. “But at this point there are endless possibilities.”
Deneroff included a provision upon sale demanding that any new owner of the Fortway would be prohibited from opening another theater, a source said.
Deneroff, who declined to comment on the terms of the Fortway sale, said a buyer of the Alpine might continue showing movies.
“It’s possible,” said Deneroff. “I really couldn’t say.”
The seven-screen, 2,200-seat Alpine opened June 6, 1921, the same year Douglas Fairbanks starred in “The Three Musketeers.”
The theater was then valued at $420,000.
The domed ceiling is in the Modell’s Sporting Goods Store. Go upstairs and you will be able to see it, as well as part of the original proscenium, that you would never have been able to see so close up.
By the way Modell’s also occupies another former RKO Brooklyn Theatre, The RKO Kenmore on Church Avenue.
According to the website of Massey Knakal (the Alpine’s Real Estate Firm), the property is being offered for 10 million dollars and will be delivered vacant to the new landlord. This is the same firm that brokered the sale of the Fortway for 4.5 million earlier this year.
The Alpine is the last of Loew’s original theatres in Brooklyn still showing movies, this point was brought up at the Loew’s Centennial exhibit at the Museum of the Moving image last year. I can still remember it as one huge theatre before it was twinned, the marquee had the name Loew’s Alpine on it, in the traditional Loew’s sunburst style shared with the Delancey & Sheridan theatres.
Its closing will represent a tremendous loss for the community of Bay Ridge, already stung by the closure of the Fortway earlier this year. Bay Ridge’s closest theatres will now be the Kent Theatre, Park Slope Pavilion and the Sheepshead Bay.
Someone I used to work with also said for a brief time in the early 70’s the Benson showed XXX movies. Could this have been before it was twinned?
The twin theatres were rather narrow, but long. The ticket booth was in the lobby as soon as you came in on the right side, and the concession stand was against the back wall between the two twin theatres. The Benson always seemed kind of dumpy when compared to the Oriental, I never saw huge crowds there except when there was a Star Wars film playing.
They want to make it a 440 seat Public School, not a Movie Theatre.
The Fortway Theatre may become a Public School, here is an article from the NY Daily News that says so:
New York Daily News
Reel hope on class crowds
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Monday, October 17th, 2005
A shuttered movie theater and a crumbling turn-of-the-century church could be turned into elementary schools in heavily overcrowded Bay Ridge, say officials.
The Fortway Theater, which closed in June, and the 105-year-old Bay Ridge United Methodist Church are negotiating with the Education Department to house 1,040 elementary students.
“We’re the most overcrowded school district in Brooklyn and the second or third most crowded in the City of New York,” said City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge). “So the need is obvious.”
The push for schools comes nine months after the city approved a capital budget plan calling for about 5,100 new classroom seats in School District 20.
The 440-seat school in the movie theater could be open by 2007. Negotiations are ongoing over whether the church will become a school, officials said.
Community Education Council President Carlos Scissura believes the theater could alleviate overcrowding in at least five nearby schools, including Public School 170, where trailers were set up years ago to accommodate an influx of students.
“This would be a godsend,” said Scissura, who said new immigrants accounted for most of the school population boom in the past five years.
“They’re perfect [sites] because the overcrowding in that part of District 20 is the worst not only in our district but probably all of Brooklyn,” added Scissura.
For Sal Friscia, whose 8-year-old son and daughter attend PS 170, the new schools would be a relief: Class size has ballooned to 30 kids.
“It’s not that the teachers don’t want to do their job, it’s that they can’t go the extra mile for the two or three kids who need the most help,” said Friscia. “You can only fit so much baloney in a 5-pound bag.”
The Rev. Bob Emerick of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church met with school officials earlier this year, but as of now he’s still considering several offers, including a proposal to convert the church into senior or mixed housing.
“Right now, we’re looking at proposals, and we’ve been very clear that we can’t afford to maintain the property as is,” said Emerick. “We haven’t committed to anything yet.”
Earlier this year, the Fourth Ave. church went up for sale at about $13 million after officials conceded that the crumbling green sandstone facade was beyond repair.
“They’re in love with the green stone, but that can’t be saved,” said Emerick.
The interior of the Fortway is now completely gone, so it can become anything the landlord wants to put in there now. By the way wasn’t the CVS/Pharmacy that’s on the same block once an Associated Supermarket? I seem to remember it as such.