Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Landmarked Ridgewood Theatre Available: Call For Proposals

QUEENS, NY (April 4, 2010) - On Jan 12, 2010, the 1916 Ridgewood Theatre, 55-27 Myrtle Ave earned Individual Landmark status after nearly 2 years of advocacy by Chair Michael Perlman of Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, and also due to parties who testified in favor, including the owners. The theater is a Greek Revival Gem with great square footage, was deemed the longest continuously operating first-run theater upon closure, witnessed a series of firsts in Vaudeville and film history, and was designed by the renown Thomas Lamb.

Closed since March 2008, the owners announced plans in March 2009 to adaptively/creatively reuse the ground floor auditorium as retail, with modern screens upstairs, as well as preserve and restore the historic interior. Currently, the owners may not pursue their plan, and would consider leasing to art, entertainment, cultural groups, or any combination, or selling the theater. Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre is trying to help the owners by finding an individual or group(s) with a creative vision, who value its architectural and cultural history, and will make it an economically viable venture for the up & coming neighborhood of Ridgewood, and accompanying neighborhoods to enjoy. Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Property Owners Civic Association is also trying to find such parties.

Please e-mail Chair Michael Perlman at unlockthevault@hotmail.com with inquiries and proposals, and all information will be relayed to the owners.
*This information is not a representation of the owners, is believed to be accurate, and is subject to change.


Anonymous said...

How about Newtown Historical Society?

If public money is used, this theatre should be open to any legitimate public use.

Ridgewoodian said...

I've always wanted to own my own theatre where I'd show Lawrence of Arabia on a continuous loop.

Anonymous said...

I believe it gained only EXTERIOR landmark status which WILL NOT protect interior features.

Rego-Forester said...

Thanks QC for featuring! On behalf of Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, we haven't completely lost confidence in the owners' initial plans to transform the ground floor auditorium into retail and upper floors into 3 modern screens, but realize that we are in a tough economy, which causes delays. We believe the owners are weighing their options, and want to do what's right for the neighborhood.

Only the facade is safeguarded as an Individual Landmark. Interior Landmark designation is a distinct category, and doesn't have to apply to the whole interior if pursued. We believe it should apply to the mostly intact lobby (as a start). Landmarking maintains and ultimately enhances property values, and if its great square footage is redeveloped adaptively and creatively, it could be a crowning jewel for the neighborhood and other parts of the boroughs, besides its architecture which already is. Landmarking does not dictate use.

For restoration and historically-sensitive renovation costs, there are tax credits, state matching grants, and private funding opportunities available for these owners or any future owners, which everyone should keep in mind. Volunteers can also help cut costs, as in the case of the Loew's Jersey.

***Everyone should do their part by circulating the "Call For Proposals" to prospective parties of interest.

The Friendly Giver said...

Ridgewoodian, you don't have to own the theater for that. You already are a continous loop.