NYC Mayor's Office
Officials broke ground Wednesday on the restoration of the historic Loew’s Kings Theatre – once part of a famed cluster of first-run movie theaters near Church and Flatbush avenues in Flatbush.
Built in 1929, the 3,200-seat Loew’s Kings, located at 1027 Flatbush Ave., contains the largest indoor theater space in Brooklyn, despite the fact that it has been vacant since 1977. It is being revamped as a venue for live performances.
Its design was heavily influenced by the Palace of Versailles and Paris Opera House, and features ornate architectural details in the French Renaissance Style. It was one of the Loew’s chain’s five flagship theaters in the New York metro area, collectively known as the Loew’s Wonder Theatres. In its heyday, the theater had a gym and basketball court in its basement for use by the theater staff.
After preliminary work undertaken by ACE Theatrical during the past three years, New York City executed a 55-year lease with the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Corporation – a consortium of ACE Theatrical, Goldman Sachs and the National Development Council.
The theater will be expanded from its original 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 that was not originally part of the movie palace.
Once renovations are complete in late 2014, it is expected to host between 200 and 250 performances a year.
“Restoring the glory of the Loew’s Kings Theater 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,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Not only will the new facility be the largest indoor theater in the borough, it will be an engine of economic growth along Flatbush Avenue and for all of Central Brooklyn.”
“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 Theater, right here in the heart of Brooklyn.” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, a lifelong Brooklynite.
“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.”
The agreement announced Wednesday 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, according to the Mayor’s Office. In addition, each performance will create temporary jobs for theatrical freelancers.
Since the city acquired the deteriorating property in 1983, it has pursued several renovation options, most of which fell through. The ACE plan was announced in 2010.