Washington Heights theater owner fights back against landmark designation

Officials counter that the process started nearly 50 years ago
January 27, 2017 05:45PM

United Palace Theater at 4140 Broadway in Washington Heights

The owners of the United Palace Theater are lashing out against efforts to landmark the building, a process that has been ongoing for nearly 50 years.

Xavier Eikerenkoetter, president of the United Palace, told Community Board 12 Tuesday night that he wants to “overturn” the decision to landmark the building, though the process has not yet been finalized, DNAinfo reported.

Inside the United Palace Theater (Credit: Professorcornbread via Wikipedia)

“I think it’s unfair. I think it’s too Draconian that a government agency can inject itself into our business and into our service, over our heads and against our wishes,” Eikerenkoetter said. “Where is the democratic process here? I have not seen it. We have not been a part of this process?”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Washington Heights theater last month, after the building sat on the commission’s backlog of applications for decades. The City Council must approve the decision before the mayor weighs in. Land Use Chair Wayne Benjamin dismissed Eikerenkoetter’s appeal, and told community members not to be “fooled.”

“There is nothing happening all of a sudden on this,” Benjamin said. “For 46 years, this has been an ongoing discussion.” [DNAinfo] — Kathryn Brenzel