Loews Paradise Theater, an iconic turn-of-the-century palace theater in the Bronx, has played many roles over its lifetime, functioning as a glitz cinema, a boxing ring and a rap venue. But now the World Changers Church of New York, headed by controversial Georgia-based televangelist Creflo Dollar, is turning the landmark building into a mega-church, according to the New York Daily News.
The church signed as lease for the 45,000-square-foot, 83-year-old theater, at 2403 Grand Concourse in Fordham, two weeks ago the Daily News learned.
Although the church will not be allowed to significantly alter the landmarked building designed by architect John Eberson and featuring murals, a cloud machine, a marble staircase and a 3,855-seat theater, it may already have caused irreparable damage.Shortly after signing its lease, a construction crew sparked a two-alarm fire that led to extensive smoke damage.
The World Changers Church preaches a controversial “prosperity theology,” a worldview that promises worldly success for piety.
“This is the highest and best use for the theater,” Ruth Furst, the broker who handled the deal for property owner Gerald Lieblich, said. [NYDN] —Christopher Cameron