'KING' OF REHABS
By RICH CALDER, NY Post
Saving the majestic Loews Kings theater in Brooklyn could cost a whopping $70 million.
After more than a year of planning, the city has begun soliciting bids from developers interested in restoring Flatbush's 79-year-old jewel, which closed in 1978, its French Renaissance interior in dire need of repair.
Rehabbing the city-owned, 63,000-square-foot ex-vaudeville house, at 1025-35 Flatbush Ave., could anchor a bigger project, one involving air rights, a 750-spot parking lot, a boutique hotel and retail shops.
The city puts the cost at $70 million, noting that the 3,195-seat interior has long been damaged by leaks and pigeons.
The theater's revival and a planned Coney Island amphitheater are two projects that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz wants to see completed before he leaves office at the end of 2009.
Bruce Friedman, whose Save the Kings grass-roots group has toiled for 20 years to bring the theater back, envisions its basement, once the site of employees' basketball games, as someday housing a jazz or comedy club.
Part of the Loews Kings' legacy is its A-list of former employees - among them Barbra Streisand and Sylvester Stallone.
There's also a video here: Loews Kings