City approves 50-unit rental addition atop Ridgewood Theater

Bottom floor of Queens building to house nearly 14,000 sf of commercial space

55-27 Myrtle Avenue, Queens
55-27 Myrtle Avenue, Queens

The landmarked Ridgewood Theater in Queens will soon be topped by 50 residential units, though a preservationist aims to maintain the building’s façade.

The Department of Buildings signed off on paperwork last week permitting Bushburg Properties LLC, which purchased the theater for $6.9 million in August, to convert the first floor into 13,638 square feet of commercial space and construct four floors of residential units above. That work, according to filings for the 55-27 Myrtle Avenue property, will be done within the building’s existing shell.

The units will be rentals, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano told the TimesLedger.

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“To my knowledge, there haven’t been any single parties or organizations that were willing to lease that ground floor all by themselves,” he told the paper. “If you have some divergence or different venues, then it is more likely to succeed.”

Activist Michael Perlman led the push to landmark the nearly 100-year-old theater since it closed in 2008. The Landmarks Preservation Commission awarded landmark status to the building’s façade and marquee in 2010. Whether elements of the theater’s interior — which features a backlit stage, balconies, moldings and a lobby with angelic muses from Greek mythology, domes and vaulted ceilings — are protected from alterations remains unclear. [TimesLedger]Julie Strickland