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The redevelopment of the dilapidated RKO Keith’s Theatre in downtown Flushing is on track to be approved by the city Board of Standards and Appeals, according to one of the lawyers representing its developer, Patrick Thompson.
Thompson presented his $160 million proposal to transform the space into a 17-floor, mixed-use residential building before the board Tuesday afternoon, and his attorney, Howard Goldman, said the hearing went smoothly.
The work is not quite over for Thompson, however, as he must answer a number of technical questions about the traffic impact and economics of the project at a follow-up hearing June 14.
“I think it went well. It’s standard operating procedure for the BSA to have two hearings before they close the record,” Goldman said after the Tuesday meeting. “I think they’re favorably inclined, but they’re making sure all the i’s and the t’s have been crossed .... Everything seems to be on track.”
The board will make the final decision on whether or not the long-awaited project will move forward. It was cleared earlier this year by Community Board 7 and Borough President Helen Marshall.
Thompson’s project would dedicate $8 million to fix the landmarked lobby and build a two-story, green, undulating glass curtain to display the renovated interior to people passing by the site, at 137-25 Northern Blvd. The lobby would become the public gateway to a new 17-story tower with 357 residential units, a senior center, 385 parking spaces and more than 12,000 square feet of retail.
A 2005 proposal by previous owner Shaya Boymelgreen that Community Board 7 approved would have included 200 residential units and a senior center, accompanied by 229 parking spaces. That project fell through when Boymelgreen’s finances faltered, and in May 2010 Thompson bought the note on the property from Doral Bank for $20 million. Boymelgreen had owned the theater since 2002, and before his proposal stalled he had agreed to the request to include bathrooms, a kitchen and the other amenities Marshall is now pushing for Thompson to accept.
In 1999, notorious developer Tommy Huang pleaded guilty to felony charges for ignoring asbestos contamination and pouring hundreds of gallons of fuel oil into the theater’s basement two decades ago. He was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and sentenced to five years’ probation.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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