From the Daily News:
The Manhattan developer who recently bought a landmark movie theater in Flushing Thursday vowed a historically sensitive restoration - as critics slammed his record of "cheap" projects.
Patrick Thompson told the Daily News that he will revamp columns and frescoes at the RKO Keith's as part of plans to convert the deteriorating site into condos and a senior center.
"They're all intact. They'll have to be brought back to life," said Thompson, who snagged the theater for $20 million. "That's absolutely part of the buildout - saving the lobby."
Thompson cautioned his time frame depends on financing, but the pledge marked his most specific yet on returning the lobby of the 1928 theater to its former glory.
Still, preservationists who have long advocated for the theater's restoration are reserving judgment.
"When the show is a wrap, we'll celebrate with an afterparty," said Flushing activist Jerry Rotondi, who has fought to protect the RKO Keith's for two decades.
Meanwhile, real estate sources with knowledge of the sale insisted Thompson usually cares only about finishing his plans - with or without preservation.
Skeptics also noted the controversy surrounding one of Thompson's most well-known projects - a high-rise condo on E. 44th St. near Fifth Ave. in Manhattan.
Unions began protesting there in 2007, charging that Thompson hired subcontractors who paid meager wages and didn't offer health care or other benefits.