This historic theater in Queens has been vacant since 1984, and it's likely that it will stay that way for sometime longer. RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing is set to go back on the market after developer JK Equities decided to nix plans to convert it into a 16-story residential building, Crain's reports.
Since the 1980s this property has changed hands several times. Developer Thomas Huang wanted to convert it into a hotel, according to Crain's, but then illegally demolished some of the historic parts of the building, and eventually pled guilty to two felony charges.
Another controversial developer, Shaya Boymelgreen purchased the site in 2002 for $15 million, and wanted to build condos. That didn't pan out either, so he sold to developer Patrick Thompson in 2010 for $20 million.
The head of JK Equities, Jerry Karlik told Crain's that his firm has received several offers to purchase the property at "attractive pricing."
The developer received a tax-break on the property, which will be transferred over to the new owner as well.
The theater was built in 1928 by architect Thomas White Lamb, a noted architect of movie theaters across the country including the former Strand Theater in Midtown and the Tivoli Theater in Washington, D.C. Several Hollywood stars performed at RKO Keith's in Flushing before it closed in 1986 including Bob Hope, Judy Garland, and Jerry Lewis. The ticket lobby and the grand foyer were landmarked in 1984.
· Listing: 135-35 Northern Boulevard [Cushman and Wakefield]
· Historic RKO Keith's Theatre in Queens up for sale—again [Crain's]
· Condos at Flushing's RKO Keith's Movie Palace Delayed [Curbed]
· All the RKO Keith's Coverage [Curbed]