The Real Deal New York

RKO Theater to become mixed-use condo building

Developer JK Equities moving forward with plans to build atop Flushing landmark

April 14, 2014 06:12PM

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RKO Keith’s Theater

Developer JK Equities is moving forward with plans to build atop the landmark RKO Keith’s Theater in Flushing. Except the 350 apartments are now destined to become condominiums, instead of the rentals originally planned.

The theater at 135-35 Northern Boulevard, which was built in 1928 and landmarked in 1983, has been empty since 1986, despite a couple failed development projects. JK Equities, which has a track record of redeveloping historic properties, acquired the building in December for $30 million. Construction is expected to start next year, Crains reported.

In addition to the apartments, plans call for the 17-story building to contain 23,000 square feet of retail space and 385 parking spaces. The decision to turn the building from rental to condos was motivated by Flushing’s shifting terrain.

“The market in Flushing has changed from three or four years ago,” a spokesperson for JK Equities told Crain’s. [Crain's] – Sasha von Oldershausen

  • skyview as litmus test

    If not for all the soap opera drama, this would have been attributed to the patience of a Sphinx – or a Spura.

    Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern helped but the big deal is the stamp of approval of big business willing to open up branches. Private big money from Taiwan and Hong Kong just wasn’t enough.

    It really feels like there is a great deal of support for THIS Chinatown. Maybe because it lacks a lot of perceived problems in the older one or because there isn’t so much competing interest for the real estate:

    http://zeek.forward.com/articles/118124/

    But blowing all the Chinatowns out of the water when there’s no rent regulated community required to sustain K-town:

    http://commercialobserver.com/2014/03/bnb-hana-bank-makes-manhattan-foray-with-prominent-koreatown-lease/

    • when you bite the hand that…

      Oh, no:

      http://www.grubstreet.com/2014/04/platt-on-chinatown.html

      Even Law and Order SVU filmed in Flushing instead of Manhattan’s Chinatown for its last Liev Schreiber episode when the press had repeatedly reported that Chinatown retailers weren’t happy with the film crews in their midst – the news did not make the retailers look good overall.

      In the 1970s, Chinese hippies would would protest the “racism” of the tour buses arriving to bring shoppers to the stores on Mott Street.

      • HOLY Jesus

        The last episode of L&O SVU that showed Chinatown was earlier this season but it was in the middle of the night with no people on the street, no signage on camera – the main character Olivia Benson leaned on the wall outside Wah Wing Sun funeral home which means no Chinatown retailers were inconvenienced by the crew.

      • hypocrisy NOT irony

        One of those protesters would have no problem asking for money from a beleagured merchant who would shake his head saying “you’re going to be the death of me” and then hand her some lunch money – money CREATED by some “racist” purchasing a pack of incense or a bamboo curtain or a John and Yoko poster earlier in the day!

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