Ridgewood Theatre may become home to music venue


| brennison@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison
THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

The vacant Ridgewood Theatre is being aggressively marketed, with a concert venue being one of the options for the site.

A burgeoning Ridgewood music scene may soon have a new outlet in a historic locale.

CPEX Real Estate Managing Director Ryan Condren said the firm is aggressively marketing the Ridgewood Theatre — which closed in 2008 — and is trying to determine an ideal user for the space, though there is no timetable for the sale.

“Obviously [a concert venue] is one of the candidates that we think would be suitable tenants for the space,” Condren said.

Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation, said the exorbitant price to renovate the theater may deter potential tenants. An architect for the previous owners pegged the renovation at $25 million, Renz said.

If economically feasible, he believes a music venue would be a boon for the influx of artists into the community in recent years.

Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre founder Michael Perlman said he would welcome concerts in the 17,000 square-foot space as long as the tenant recognizes the theater’s history and is committed to restoring “the site’s historic interior.”

Opened in 1916, for nearly a century the theater stood as an entertainment beacon in Ridgewood. It was the longest continually operated first-run cinema in New York, bridging the silent film era to Hollywood blockbusters.

Now an anachronism among awninged retail stores along Myrtle Avenue, the theater’s façade and marquee are protected as a city landmark, something potential tenants would have to work around.

Many parties have expressed interest, Condren said, with a multitude of visions for the site, not only as a concert venue.

“We’re not ruling anything out right now,” he said.

Empty for more than four years, Renz said he just wants an occupant in the space that would benefit the area.

“It’s an eyesore, it’s a vacant property,” he said. “The BID is committed to working with anyone who could do something there. As long as it’s something that the community wants, and is compatible to complement the district.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/harvvi Violet Padilla-Molina

    A fundraising should be in the works, by the community.