Deputy Mayor Glen, NYCEDC And ACE Theatrical Group Announce Reopening Of Historic Kings Theatre
Brooklyn’s Largest Theatre, Vacant Since 1977, Serves as Economic and Cultural Cornerstone of Flatbush Neighborhood
Restoration and Renovation Revitalizes Grandeur of Former Movie Palace
Transformation into Major New York Performing Arts Venue Celebrated with Free Community Events January 27 and February 7
Inaugural Concert with Music Legend Diana Ross Held February 3
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Kyle Kimball and ACE Theatrical Group President and CEO David Anderson today announced the reopening of the historic Kings Theatre following an extensive $95 million restoration and renovation of the former movie palace and architectural gem. Originally constructed in 1929 and the largest theatre in Brooklyn with more than 3,000 seats, the Kings Theatre will serve as a fixture in the City’s cultural landscape, presenting a wide spectrum of programming from local, national and international performing artists. An economic engine for the Flatbush neighborhood and the only major resource for live entertainment in the immediate area, the Theatre will present more than 200 performances annually. ACE Theatrical Group was selected by NYCEDC to operate the City-owned theatre, and has worked with NYCEDC’s HireNYC program to employ local residents and create opportunities for Flatbush and the surrounding communities. The Kings Theatre’s ongoing operations are expected to create more than 100 full-time equivalent jobs annually. Deputy Mayor Glen, NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball and ACE Theatrical Group President and CEO Anderson were joined today by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, New York City Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group Managing Director Margaret Anadu, and National Development Council (NDC) Executive Vice President Dan Marsh to mark the Theatre’s reopening.
“Today marks a milestone for the Flatbush community,” said New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “The City’s investment in the revival of the Kings Theater is about much more than the restoration of the beloved, historic building—it is about supporting the creation of local jobs, new traffic for area small businesses, and developing new state-of-the art space for the community to gather. Kings Theater will become a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike, and provide real community benefits in the process.”
"Generations of Brooklynites called the Kings Theatre the cornerstone of their community, so it has been a unique honor for us and our partners to restore this piece of Brooklyn's rich cultural heritage to its former glory," said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. "The Kings Theatre shows us how Brooklyn can reinvent itself time and again, unlocking the full potential of City-owned assets to bring fresh dynamism to the people of every neighborhood, while also spurring growth in the surrounding areas."
“The Kings Theatre is now once again an integral part of this community, after being lost to the City for so long,” said David Anderson, President and CEO of ACE Theatrical Group. “We are so proud to welcome New Yorkers back to the Kings and we thank the community for its incredible support of the revitalization project. It is our hope that everyone will join us as we celebrate the historic reopening and embark on the Theatre’s inaugural year of performances.”
The Kings Theatre’s inaugural concert will be given on February 3 by internationally acclaimed artist, Diana Ross. A free concert will be held for community members on Tuesday, January 27, and a free open house with tours of the restored structure will be held Saturday, February 7. More information about these events and the Theatre’s inaugural year of programming is available at KingsTheatre.com.
The Kings Theatre opened in the Flatbush neighborhood as one of the five Loew’s ‘Wonder Theatres’ constructed in New York and New Jersey. It was designed by architecture firm Rapp & Rapp as an entertainment palace where films and vaudeville acts were presented amidst sumptuous interiors inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House. The Theatre closed its doors to the public in 1977 and was acquired by the City of New York in 1983, which subsequently performed critical structural repairs. In 2008, NYCEDC launched a competitive search for an entity to undertake a major restoration and renovation to restore the Theatre as an economic engine and cultural hub. In April 2012, the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Company—a consortium of ACE Theatrical Group, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and the National Development Council—was chosen to lead this effort and provide Brooklyn with a newly revitalized performing arts venue, which broke ground in January 2013.
Led by Martinez+Johnson Architecture, with Gilbane Building Company serving as construction manager, the revitalization of the structure faithfully restores the Theatre’s original splendor while transforming it into a modern multi-purpose performance facility. Before falling into disrepair, the Kings Theatre featured high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, gold-leaf ornament, crystal chandeliers, carpeted floors, plush furniture, and salon-type lounge areas. Rich wood paneling and pink marble accented the Theatre’s massive lobby and foyer, and the front of the building featured a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade. These original, signature elements have been restored whenever possible, and faithfully recreated when damage to the original was too great. The project also included a significant expansion to the backstage area, with an additional 10,000 square feet constructed to accommodate the technical requirements of live performance.
“The rebirth of the glorious Kings Theatre is yet another sign that when it comes to Brooklyn the ‘Good Old Days’ are right here, right now,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer. “The closing of this theatre in 1977 was a metaphor for the declining prospects of our great city and its stunning revival, in all its architectural and cultural glory is proof positive of the efficacy of federal New market Tax Credits, which was one key factor in many. Rather than a wistful sign of decay and what was, the new historic Kings Theatre will be a symbol of prestige and an engine of prosperity for this neighborhood, for Brooklyn and the whole City of New York. Kudos to all who made this happen, from former Borough President Marty Markowitz, to the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, to NYCEDC, ACE Theatrical Group, to Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, to National Development Council."
"The wonder has been restored to Flatbush's historic 'Wonder Theatre.' The newly restored Kings Theatre is a remarkable open door to our glorious architectural and artistic past, as well as a gateway to the economic and cultural revival of central Brooklyn. I am proud that the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President was a catalyst and funder for this important project, which will leave patrons astonished, amazed and applauding for more. World-class talent and local rising stars alike will find the Kings Theatre to be their new favorite stage," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
“I am delighted that the Kings Theatre is finally reopening and will serve as both a cultural hub and an important economic force for the community and our great City. It has been my pleasure to partner with so many others to see this historical wonder restored to the beautiful condition it was in over 80 years ago. With over 200 live performances every year, Kings Theatre is poised to be a premiere source of entertainment in Brooklyn and is already providing much needed employment to the local workforce,” said Councilmember Mathieu Eugene.
“As the Representative of the Ninth Congressional District of New York, home to the historic Loew's Kings Theater and a lifelong resident of Central Brooklyn who graduated from Ditmas Junior High School there, I share with the people of Brooklyn in celebrating the re-opening of this majestic theater, a theater in which generations of families, like mine, have been entertained and where we all will now have an opportunity to watch artists such as Diana Ross, Moved, Frankie Valle, Gladys Knight, and Tessanne Chin perform onstage as well as enjoy the talents of the Brooklyn Ballet, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and many other brilliant performers living here in Brooklyn," said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. "I commend former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for his vision and stewardship that made this day a reality, all of my colleagues in government who contributed to his vision and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for its commitment to developing Kings Theater in collaboration with non-profit organizations and members of the community. This investment in the Flatbush community has created jobs and offers the public an invaluable resource that we will continue to enjoy for generations to come.”
"The Kings Theatre will add to the tremendous revitalization of Flatbush by reviving a beloved cultural institution and economic engine for our community," said New York State Assemblemember Rodneyse Bichotte. "I know the Theatre has undertaken great efforts to recruit locally for its staff, and I am excited to see doors open for the first time in the coming weeks."
“We are thrilled to help finance the restoration of the historic Kings Theatre into a vibrant cultural center right here in Flatbush” said Margaret Anadu, Managing Director in the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. “In addition to the jobs and economic development opportunities resulting directly from performances at the Theatre, the improved facility on Flatbush Avenue itself will catalyze further revitalization and development of additional retail and community space.”
“The National Development Council is honored to have been part of the innovative public/private partnership that preserved the historic Kings Theatre,” said Dan Marsh, Executive Vice President of NDC. “We are extremely proud to be here today with our partners to celebrate with the citizens of this great city, the grand reopening of this magnificent historic community facility.”
“The Kings Theatre is one of the borough’s most iconic theaters, and its Flatbush Avenue façade is one of the few surviving Renaissance-inspired 1920s theater exteriors in New York City,” said Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. “I am very pleased that its beautiful interior will once again be open to the public, and I commend all involved for working to sensitively restore this building to its former glory.“
“The renovation and reopening of the Kings Theatre defines the renaissance that Brooklyn is celebrating. The Kings Theatre will present the greatest entertainment for children, families, and adults and act as a catalyst of the rebirth of Flatbush Avenue as a premiere shopping and dining attraction for residents and visitors alike,” said Marty Markowitz, Vice President, Borough Promotion and Engagement for NYC & Company.
"Those of us at Martinez + Johnson Architecture are extremely proud and honored to be the designers of a revitalized Kings Theatre, saving it from the brink of catastrophic loss and restoring it to it's rightful place amongst the centers of lively arts for the citizens of Brooklyn and Flatbush," said Gary Martinez, President of Martinez + Johnson Architecture.
"Gilbane is proud to have played a role in bringing back this historic building to the community and to New York City. Breathing life back into this beautiful theatre has been an honor for the entire project team,” said Neil Heyman, Vice President of Gilbane Building Company. “The extraordinary results are the product of a true collaborative effort between all parties involved – the owners, architect, construction manager, preservation specialist, and all the trades.”
The renovation and restoration of the Kings Theatre is a partnership between NYCEDC and the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Company. Public sector funding is provided by the City of New York, through the Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, the New York City Council and District 40 Councilmember Dr. Mathieu Eugene, and by the State of New York. Additionally, the Kings Theatre is a Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit project and a Federal New Markets Tax Credit project in partnership with Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, United Fund Advisors, and the National Development Council.
The Kings Theatre is located at 1027 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226 and is easily accessible by mass transit via the Q, B, 2, and 5 trains and B41 and B49 bus lines.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.
About ACE Theatrical Group, LLC
ACE Theatrical Group, LLC is an entrepreneurial, full-service, theatrical management and development company formed by entertainment industry veterans, specializing in the design, construction and operation of preeminent live-performance venues across North America. Longstanding success working with municipalities, non-profit agencies and community groups enables the company to develop and restore spectacular performance facilities with state-of-the-art improvements and amenities, emphasizing patron comfort, technical specifications and diverse programming. ACE Theatrical Group’s recent projects include the restoration of the historic Saenger Theatre in New Orleans—which reopened in 2013—the current restoration of the iconic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, and the development of the new Sugar Land Concert & Performing Arts Venue in Texas. ACE Theatrical Group Chairman is Allen J. Becker, the Tony-award-winning producer who cofounded PACE Entertainment Corporation in 1966. Over three decades, PACE and its core divisions—PACE Concerts, PACE Theatrical Group and PACE Motor Sports—became nationally acclaimed producers of live attractions and distinguished leaders in developing and managing outdoor amphitheaters. ACE Theatrical Group executive principals bring more than 175 years combined experience to each project. ACE Theatrical Group is based in Houston, TX, with presence in New York, Brooklyn, San Antonio, New Orleans and Sugar Land, TX. www.acetheatricalgroup.com.
About Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group
Established in 2001, the Urban Investment Group (UIG) deploys capital to help transform distressed communities into sustainable and vibrant neighborhoods of choice and opportunity. UIG seeks double-bottom-line returns by providing flexible financing for community projects that respond to the needs of low- and moderate-income communities and support public sector priorities. Through its comprehensive platform, UIG has committed more than $3 billion of Goldman Sachs capital, catalyzing development across dozens of residential, mixed-use and commercial projects, and financing job creation and neighborhood revitalization strategies as well as social services, through the nation’s first social impact bonds. In 2013, UIG launched the Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund, a first of its kind direct impact-investing vehicle, and manages the strategy on behalf of Goldman Sachs clients.
About the National Development Council
Founded in 1969, the National Development Council (NDC) is a national non-profit organization that has evolved into one of the most progressive and innovative community and economic development organizations in the country. From a seminal role in the earliest days of the community development movement, NDC has grown into one of the most comprehensive providers of financing, development expertise, technical assistance and training for community revitalization efforts throughout the U.S. NDC is headquartered in New York City with offices in Seattle, WA and Edgewood, KY. www.nationaldevelopmentcouncil.org
About Martinez+Johnson Architecture
Martinez+Johnson Architecture has established a nationally recognized expertise in the design and planning of performing arts venues, and institutional buildings in urban areas and community settings. Founding principals, Gary Martinez, FAIA, and Tom Johnson, AIA, opened their Washington D.C. office in 1994 and expanded the firm to New York City in 2010. The firm's early work included award-winning landmark theaters in Boston, Meridian, Mississippi and El Paso, Texas. These successes led to commissions for new performing arts and multi-use venues in Toronto, Las Vegas and Annapolis, and most recently with ACE Theatrical on the 6,500 seat entertainment and concert venue in Sugarland, Texas.
From its New York City office, as managed by Principal Stewart Jones, AIA, the firm builds on its success in cultural projects, particularly those involving the performing arts. Currently active are major performing arts projects both on and off Broadway as well as in Jersey City, New Orleans, and communities throughout the country. www.mjarchitecture.com.
About Gilbane Building Company
Gilbane provides a full slate of construction-related services—from pre-construction planning and integrated consulting capabilities to comprehensive construction management, close-out and facility management service—for clients across various markets. Marking its 142nd year in operation and still a privately held, family-run company, Gilbane has more than 50 office locations around the world. Gilbane Building Company has been providing construction management services in New York for more than 60 years. Gilbane has managed some of New York's most high-profile public jobs, including the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park, British Airways Terminal at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, and Columbia University's Baker Field. Currently, among other projects in the New York area, Gilbane is providing construction management services for the restoration, expansion, and modernization of Kings Theatre; The Aston, a 19-story residential building in Forest Hills, Queens; the White Plains Hospital Modernization Program; SUNY Downstate Medical Center; as well as several projects for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. To learn more, visit www.gilbaneco.com.