Long-vacant RKO Keith’s Theater on the block again

JK Equities bought the 1920’s era Flushing building for $30M in 2013
February 18, 2016 09:07AM

The RKO Keith’s Theater, a former Flushing vaudeville house and cinema, the site of several doomed redevelopments, is back up for sale by owner JK Equities.

The three-story, 2,974-seat theater at 135-35 Northern Boulevard opened in 1928 and hosted performances by the likes of Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny and the Marx brothers.

“In the past six months, we have received several unsolicited offers to purchase the site at attractive pricing,” JK boss Jerry Karlik told Crain’s.

JK Equities bought the property, whose lobby and foyer are landmarked, in 2013 for $30 million from developer Patrick Thompson. Last year Karlik’s firm received permission to build a 16-story, 269-unit apartment building at the site.

Attempts to redevelop the theater date back to 1986 when Thomas Huang bought it with plans to build a hotel and retail site. He later pleaded guilty to two felonies related to demolishing landmarked portions of the building, and sold the property to Shaya Boymelgree in 2002 for $15 million. Boymelgreen defaulted on his mortgage before he was able to build a planned condo building, and sold out to Thompson for $20 million in 2010. [Crain’s]Ariel Stulberg