NYCEDC and Brooklyn Borough President Issue RFP for Restoration of Loew's Kings Theatre
New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in cooperation with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, issued a Request for Proposals for a developer and operator of the former Loew’s Kings Theatre in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Located at 1025-1035 Flatbush Avenue in the center of the borough, the theater contains approximately 63,000 square feet of space, including about 5,000 square feet of retail space on a 53,900-square-foot parcel. The redevelopment must rehabilitate and reuse the theater building, be economically feasible, and retain certain elements of the theater’s unique architectural features. The theater site is available for long-term lease from the City.
“The historic character of the Loew’s Kings, coupled with its location in the middle of the thriving Flatbush Avenue retail corridor, makes this a very exciting redevelopment project,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “We are seeking forward-thinking proposals that show imagination and true reverence for the theater’s past. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Borough President Marty Markowitz on this important project.”
Loew’s Kings Theatre opened in 1929 as Loew’s flagship theater. Designed in the French Renaissance style by the prestigious firm of Rapp & Rapp, the theater’s architecture was heavily influenced by the Palace of Versailles and Paris Opera House. It features high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, wood paneling, pink marble, and a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade—all in keeping with classic movie palace styling. The stage is approximately 70 feet wide by 30 feet deep and has a fly gallery about 80 feet high and a proscenium opening 60 feet wide by 50 feet high. The theater includes 2,295 seats in the orchestra and 900 in the mezzanine. The orchestra dome extends more than 70 feet above stage level. With the exception of the glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade fronting Flatbush Avenue, the building’s exterior is constructed of brick. It is framed primarily in structural steel with reinforced concrete floors.
“With the Request for Proposals, we are taking another major step in fulfilling what has long been a dream of mine – renovating the Loew’s Kings as a successful and meaningful citywide resource,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “The Loew’s Kings is an indelible part of my youth and that of many Brooklynites and New Yorkers. I look forward to some innovative proposals to restore this ‘grand old lady’ of Brooklyn in an area of the borough that is in great need of such an exciting performance venue.”
Vacant since 1978, the theater has fallen into substantial disrepair. A conditions study concluded that approximately $70 million would be needed to cover the cost of the necessary rehabilitation work. Due to the condition of the theater, the fiscal feasibility of the project may require public investment. Proposals must clearly explain the sources and types of funding anticipated, including those expected from the public sector. The site is located in a census tract eligible for New Markets Credit investment and qualifies as a community particularly targeted for investment. Funding may also be available through federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.
NYCEDC engaged a theater management consultant to conduct a market study for the reactivation of the theater. The primary goal of the study was to determine what programming opportunities exist for the theater and the optimal programming mix. The market study identified four distinct types of uses and programs that would be appropriate for the theater: popular, headliner and cultural entertainment; youth and community enrichment programs; rehearsal and instructional space for dance, theater and music; and meeting and event space. The study also concluded that the theater’s patronage would be primarily from Brooklyn, followed by residents of the broader New York City region, who would be most responsive to affordable programming. NYCEDC encourages, but does not require or limit, proposals to include programming specified in the market study.
Respondents must preserve the appearance and character of certain significant theater elements as specified in the RFP. NYCEDC supports green building, sustainable design. Proposals should incorporate green building principles and seek a silver LEED rating. Proposals should also contain a Minority and Women-owned (M/WBE) Local Hiring and Utilization Plan outlining methods for facilitating participation of businesses that have been certified by the City’s Department of Small Business Services. Respondents to the September 2006 Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) are urged to respond to this RFP and may receive preference if their responses are equally as strong as non-RFEI respondents.
A site visit and question and answer session will be held on April 7, 2008 at 2 p.m. at the Loew’s Kings Theatre at 1025 Flatbush Avenue. To download a copy of the complete RFP, visit nycedc.com/rfp. Proposals are due no later than 4 p.m., May 7, 2008.
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.