Flushing’s RKO Keith’s theater redevelopment OK’d

Redevelopment plan for the RKO Keith’sTheater at 135-35 Northern Boulevard. Image: Courtesy of Studio V Architecture.

Developer sought to amend previously issued variance for seventeenstory project by increasing number of apartments and parking spaces. In December 2005, BSA granted Boymelgreen Developers’ variance request to build a seventeen-story building enveloping and preserving the landmarked interior of the RKO Keith’s Theater at 135-35 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens. The project would have provided 200 condominiums, a 229-space belowgrade parking garage, and commercial and community facility space. 3 CityLand 11 (Feb. 15, 2006).

Boymelgreen never developed the project, and Patrick Thompson subsequently purchased the property. In November 2009, Thompson applied to BSA seeking to amend the variance. The amended proposal increased the number of apartments to 357, decreased the average apartment size from 1,437 to 787 sq.ft., and marketed the project as rentals rather than condominiums.  Thompson also proposed providing an additional 156 parking spaces, increasing the amount of commercial space, and relocating the community facility space. The building would provide 40 studios, 166 onebedroom units, 71 one-bedroom plus office units, 74 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units. At BSA, Thompson claimed that the original proposal had become financially infeasible and that the proposed modifications would permit him to earn a reasonable return on the project. Thompson submitted documentation indicating that market demand was higher for smaller units and that the reduced size and mix of apartments was within the range of other large rental projects.

At BSA’s request, Thompson also submitted a financial analysis demonstrating that it would be impossible to obtain construction financing for the original project, and a traffic study indicating that the impact of the additional parking spaces would not warrant further environmental assessment.

BSA approved the project, finding that the modifications did not alter the board’s original findings.

BSA: 135-35 Northern Boulevard (156- 03-BZ) (July 12, 2011) (Howard Goldman, for Thompson) (Architect: Studio V Architecture).

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