Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Markowitz Break Ground on Restoration of Historic Loew's Kings Theatre in Flatbush
Largest Indoor Theater in Brooklyn – Vacant Since 1977 – Will Be a Centerpiece of Revitalized Flatbush; Final Agreement Included Host of Partners Including Goldman Sachs
ACE Theatrical Begins Construction Now, Theatre Expected to Open in Beginning of 2015
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz today broke ground on the restoration of the historic Loew’s Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Originally constructed in 1929, the 3,200-seat Loew’s Kings Theatre is the largest indoor theater in Brooklyn. Its design was heavily influenced by the Palace of Versailles and Paris Opera House, and features ornate architectural details in the French Renaissance Style. In 1977, the theatre closed and has remained vacant since, suffering decades of neglect and deterioration. Today’s announcement represents the culmination of the City’s efforts to revitalize the theatre. Following preliminary work untaken by ACE Theatrical over the last three years, New York City has executed a 55-year lease with the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Corporation – a consortium of ACE Theatrical, Goldman Sachs and the National Development Council – to begin the full redevelopment and rehabilitation of the theatre. The project was financed through funding from the City, Marty Markowitz, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and United Fund Advisors. The Mayor was joined at today’s announcement by Borough President Markowitz, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky and Council Member Mathieu Eugene. Renderings are available at www.flickr.com/nycmayorsoffice.
“Once the largest and grandest indoor venue in Brooklyn, Loew’s Kings Theatre was a major attraction for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and countless visitors,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Soon it will be again. This massive restoration project will be great for the Flatbush community, for Brooklyn’s booming cultural scene, for local artists and cultural groups, and for New York City.”
“Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, Brooklyn has become a magnet for private investment and job creation, particularly investments centered around arts and culture,” said Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel. “The groundbreaking of the Loew’s Kings Theatre is the latest example both of confidence in Brooklyn’s future and of the leading role cultural institutions can play in economic development.”
“Bravo to the entire ‘cast of actors’ who have made this possible, especially Mayor Bloomberg, EDC President Seth Pinsky and the entire EDC team, Councilman Eugene and ACE Theatrical,” said Borough President Markowitz. “Restoring the glory of the Loew’s Kings Theatre into a combination of the Beacon and the Apollo all rolled into one has long been a dream of mine and the Flatbush community—and now it is time for the theater’s triumphant ‘encore.’ Not only will the new facility be the largest indoor theater in the borough—hosting everything from concerts and plays to special events and graduation ceremonies—it will be an engine of economic growth along Flatbush Avenue and for all of Central Brooklyn. The Loew’s Kings Theatre will play a leading role in the arts’ next great act, right here on Brooklyn’s big stage.”
“Thanks in part to the federal New Market Tax Credits we fought so hard to preserve, the glory of the palatial theatres of days gone by will make a roaring return with the refurbishment of the Loew’s Kings Theatre, right here in the heart of Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. "This glorious theatre will give Central Brooklyn the grand stage it needs and deserves; I am grateful for the hard work of Mayor Bloomberg, NYC Economic Development Corporation, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilmember Mathieu Eugene for their continued efforts in refurbishing the theater and I will continue to fight for federal support to create jobs, spur growth and bring back the grandeur of old Brooklyn.”
“For too long, Loew’s Theatre has sat vacant, but today, we’ve cleared the final hurdle for this historic project that will restore the site to its former glory,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “By clearing the way for construction to begin, this agreement will help bring a brand new cultural center in the center of Brooklyn, helping to revitalize this bustling neighborhood and create jobs. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz, ACE Theatrical and all our other partners in government and the private sector for their hard work and generous support of the project.”
“Loew’s is an incredible example of the extensive impact that public private partnerships can have on neighborhoods like Flatbush,” said Alicia Glen, Managing Director and head of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs. “We are excited to have collaborated with such strong public and private partners to bring this much anticipated restoration to fruition. Especially in the aftermath of the recession, Loew’s is an important model for economic development projects that not only create hundreds of jobs, but also bring important entertainment amenities that both residents and new visitors to the community can enjoy.”
“The restoration of the former Loew’s Kings Theatre will allow citizens of Brooklyn, and the entire region, to once again experience the splendor of this magnificent entertainment palace,” said President and CEO of ACE Theatrical David Anderson. The project will accomplish three important goals: it will rescue and restore an important architectural masterpiece for future generations to enjoy; it will create jobs and re-energize neighborhoods; and it will provide a broad range of entertainment programming, serving the vibrant and diverse communities which comprise Brooklyn. It is truly a rare and exciting opportunity, and ACE is grateful for the chance to be a part of the team which has made it possible.”
“The Loew’s Kings Theatre is a great example of the private and public sectors working together in order to serve the common good,” said Councilman Mathieu Eugene. “This theatre is part of Brooklyn history and will continue to be part of its future as a great social and cultural institution that uplifts, and unites the community.”
“It is with great pride that I was able to allocate capital funding for this historic arts space,” said State Senator Kevin Parker. “I am thrilled that the rehabilitation and restoration of the former Loews King Theater is finally complete. This project created hundreds of construction jobs for individuals who were unemployed and it is projected to create over 50 permanent positions right here in Flatbush.”
Originally designed by the renowned firm of Rapp & Rapp, Loew’s Kings Theatre, located at 1027 Flatbush Avenue, opened in 1929 as one of Loew’s five Wonder Theatres. Its French Renaissance style architecture was inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House and features high, curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, wood paneling, pink marble, and a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade – elements that once made it a classic, early 20th century movie palace.
Vacant since 1977, the theater has fallen into substantial disrepair. Since the City acquired the property in 1983, the City has repaired the roof and worked to repair the structure. In order to revitalize the space, NYCEDC, in cooperation with Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz, issued a Request for Proposals in 2008 for a developer to lead the full rehabilitation and operate the venue going forward. ACE Theatrical Group, LLC of Houston, Texas, was selected in 2009 due to their specialization in historic restoration and theater operation. ACE’s many projects include the Boston Opera House, the Chicago Theatre and the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. ACE works with local organizations to include them in theater activities, and works across all entertainment genres that will serve all aspects of the community.
Over the last year, the Bloomberg Administration and Borough President Markowitz have worked to finalize the terms of the project to allow full construction to begin. The agreement announced today enables construction on the project to begin this month. The $93.9 million project is estimated to create more than 500 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs. In addition, each performance will create additional temporary jobs for theatrical freelancers. As part of the project, the theatre will be expanded from its original approximately 68,000 square-foot space to approximately 93,000 square feet to enable it to be used as a live performance venue, with a suitable backstage area not originally part of the movie theatre. Once renovations are complete in late 2014 the theatre is expected to host between 200 and 250 performances a year.
The rehabilitation and restoration of the former Loew’s Kings Theatre marks the rebirth of a marvelous historic arts space. The Theatre will serve as both a cultural hub and catalyst for economic growth along Flatbush Avenue and throughout Central Brooklyn. The project includes investments from partners in both the public and private sector, including contributions from New York City, Borough President Markowitz, Goldman Sachs through equity and debt financing, Council Member Eugene, and State Senator Kevin Parker. This project is only the latest in a series of City projects meant to revitalize the booming arts scene Brooklyn. The City is currently in the process of developing the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, groundbreaking development plan that will invest more than $100 million in new facilities for the arts, create public space, and provide much-needed affordable housing. Anchored by the world famous Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the district will include new performance and rehearsal space, as well as office space for a diverse group of local arts organizations.
“The rehabilitation and restoration of the former Loew’s King Theatre marks the renaissance of a marvelous historic space dedicated to arts and culture in Brooklyn,” said Robert W. Davenport, President of the nonprofit National Development Council. “The Theatre will serve as both a cultural hub and catalyst for economic growth along Flatbush Avenue and throughout Central Brooklyn. National Development Council is honored to be partnering with the City of New York, the Office of the Mayor, the Borough of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, NYEDC and ACE Theatrical in its rebirth.”
“At UFA, our goal is to provide financing for projects and businesses that dramatically improve the social and economic landscape in hard hit communities, said Cam Turner, Principal at UFA partners. We are proud to add Loew’s King Theater to our portfolio of mission driven investments. The financial and cultural importance of the theater cannot be understated. We are also honored to have partnered with New York Economic Development Corporation over the past five years. The theater is our 16th collaborative New Market Tax Credit investment.”
“We recognize the importance of this project to the community, the EDC and to the revitalization of Brooklyn,” said Bill Gilbane III, vice president of Gilbane, the construction manager undertaking the project. “We are proud to be part of this historic project which will enrich the community and provide a state-of-the-art performing arts venue for all to enjoy.”
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.
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Established in 2001, the Urban Investment Group (UIG) deploys the firm’s capital by making investments and loans that benefit underserved communities. Through its comprehensive community development platform, UIG is a catalyst in the revitalization of distressed urban neighborhoods. UIG has committed more than $2.7 billion, facilitating the creation and preservation of approximately 12,800 housing units — the majority of which are affordable to low, moderate and middle-income families — as well as over 1,300,000 sq. ft. of community facility space and approximately 1,900,000 sq. ft. of commercial and retail space. UIG is part of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS). To learn more about UIG, visit www.gs.com/uig.