The owner of the dilapidated RKO Keith’s Theatre in Downtown Flushing will go before Community Board 7 next month seeking a waiver from the previously approved plans to develop the site into condominiums.
CB 7’s decision is the first step before the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals makes the final ruling.
Jerry Karlik, who heads JK Equities, the developer who bought the Northern Boulevard site in 2013, needs the waiver before he can proceed with construction. He wants to decrease the number of condominiums from 357 to 269; decrease underground parking from 327 to 252 spaces and increase the height of the building by 15 feet for mechanical equipment.
The most controversial change involves an already-approved undulating glass curtain entrance. Karlik wants to redesign the front to provide views of the landmarked lobby.
But Chuck Apelian, chairman of CB 7’s Land Use Committee and vice chairman of the board, said Tuesday that changing the facade plan “might be a point of contention” with the board because the glass curtain is such an integral part of the original plan.
Apelian doesn’t see any problem with the extra 15-foot height since the Port Authority has already agreed to it. Buildings cannot be constructed too high in Flushing because of nearby LaGuardia Airport. The Keith’s project calls for a 17-story building on top of the 87-year-old movie house.
Apelian considers the other changes relatively minor and noted that a proposed senior center is still part of the plan as a community facility.