UPDATED: July 6, 10:10 a.m.: Once the seat of New York City’s Democratic machine, the building known as Tammany Hall — that more recently housed the Union Square Theatre — is now set to become a six-story retail and office building.
Liberty Theaters LLC, which owns the Gramercy building, plans to spend $50 million to redevelop the four-story structure, the New York Times reported. Designed by BKSK Architects, 44 Union Square will be marketed by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.
“We tried to preserve the theater,” Margaret Cotter, president of Liberty Theaters, told the Times. “But we couldn’t come up with a program that was economically viable.” Liberty Theaters also owns the 347-seat Orpheum Theater in the East Village and Minetta Lane Theater, with 391 seats, in Greenwich Village.
The neo-Georgian building known as Tammany Hall opened in 1929, and Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt used its stage to warn of corporate mergers that were putting too much wealth into the hands of the elite.
In 1943, Tammany sold its headquarters to Local 91 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which reopened it in 1947 as the Roosevelt Auditorium. In 1984 it was reborn as a 499-seat Off Broadway theater, the Roundabout Theater, and in 1994 it was rededicated as the Union Square Theater.
It received landmark status in 2013. But after the New York Film Academy moved out in 2015, the theater closed in January.
The exterior of the building will be preserved, but the main auditorium will not. The building will have a glass dome at the roof level. [NYT] – E.B. Solomont