Sunday, February 20, 2011
Truth comes out at Keith's vote
From the Queens Chronicle:
It was deja vu all over again at Community Board 7’s monthly meeting Monday as members OK’d plans for the redevelopment of the derelict RKO Keith’s Theatre exactly five years to the day of the last approval.
In a vote of 24-10, following a hearing at the Union Plaza Care Center, members agreed to a revised plan for the site, which includes a lot more housing units and less parking spaces. The new owner, Patrick Thompson of Manhattan, bought the decaying structure at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main Street last May for $20 million and expects the project to cost $160 million.
Jerry Rotondi, acting president of the Committee to Save the RKO Keith’s Theatre of Flushing, noted his group got the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and supported its full interior designation as a city landmark in 1984. But, Rotondi pointed out, “Claire Shulman, acting for her mentor, corrupt Borough President Donald Manes, lobbied to have the designation abridged to just the ticket lobby and grand foyer,” he said.
The landmarking reduction was later supported by Shulman, when she was borough president. The lobby and foyer are the only significant parts of the theater remaining.
Protecting both is the main focus of Rotondi’s group now. He also recommended that a museum element be incorporated into the final design “that celebrates the important and rich theatrical history that included live performances by some of the greatest show business icons in 20th-century America,” he said.