RKO Keith developer owes $380K in unpaid taxes: City

A rendering of the proposed mixed-use building that would be built around the lobby of the RKO Keith's Theatre. Rendering courtesy Studio V
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The developer for the RKO Keith’s Theatre in Flushing maintains he has enough cash to put a shovel in the ground and is not selling the property, but Patrick Thompson also owes the city nearly $400,000 in unpaid taxes and faces a possible tax lien from the city.

Speculation that Thompson wants to sell the property has increased after a real estate firm circulated an investment packet soliciting companies to either buy the property outright or enter into a joint partnership.

“This is a confidential memorandum intended solely for your own limited use in considering whether to pursue negotiations to acquire 135-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, Queens, NY,” a page of the packet that was obtained by TimesLedger Newspapers read.

The packet also contained information about the project, but is undated and was likely circulated before the project received approvals from the city.

But the theater is also listed on several real estate websites. Although it is also not clear when the listings were posted, one reads: “this is a projected development site that has received approval.”

It goes on to say, “As of July 20, 2011, this is available for sale or a joint venture equity partnership.”

The listing directed interested parities to Ken Zakin, a broker from the Manhattan-based firm Newmark Knight Frank.

Zakin confirmed he is working with the developer of the site, but deferred all other questions to Thompson or his spokesman, Michael Nussbaum.

Nussbaum said Thompson is absolutely not selling the property and has had a financial backer since last year. He said nothing has changed recently except more people have been coming forward to invest in the project.

“There has been a relationship on the table going back to the late summer or fall of last year,” Nussbaum said. “When was the last time Donald Trump did a development deal on his own?”

A source with knowledge of the project said that the packet was only distributed to test the waters for investors.

Nussbaum said Thompson is ready to start demolishing portions of the building, but there are still several obstacles that could hamper the process.

According to the city Department of Finance, Thompson has not paid any of his property taxes since January 2011. The fees come to $379,585 in property taxes, $1,900 in water bills and $180 in additional charges.

The outstanding total balance of $381,698 means the property is in danger of being put on the list of tax liens for sale, according to the Finance Department.

If the lien were to be put up for sale, anyone would be able to purchase it, the department said. If Thompson did not pay off the balance of the lien, whoever held it could take over the property.

Thompson has until May 17 to enter into a payment plan with the city to prevent the property from being put on the tax lien sale list, according to the department.

Nussbaum said Thompson will address the problem soon.

“That will be taken care of very shortly,” he said. “It will not go past May.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 6:55 pm, March 21, 2012
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