Tag Archives: Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District

Second Myrtle Avenue pedestrian plaza gets community support

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Call it the Myrtle Avenue makeover.

Community Board 5 (CB5) is in favor of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to transform the corner of Myrtle and 71st Avenues into a pedestrian plaza.

The plan to makeover the space was almost fully accepted at the board’s most recent transportation committee meeting, except for a few minor changes.

Photo courtesy the Department of Transportation 

“It’s a nice attribute for the community,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and a member of the community board. “Pedestrian plazas have become very popular throughout the city.”

The DOT will install new lighting, bike racks, plants, chess tables, chairs and umbrellas for shade, and raise the sidewalk for the new square.

Renz said the BID will look to create art and music programs and variety of services at the plaza for the community to enjoy when it is completed.

But before that, the DOT has to tweak the plan and present the final designs to the community board’s transportation committee for approval at an upcoming meeting.

The plaza is just one of two coming to Myrtle Avenue. The city’s Department of Design and Construction is in the final design phase for another public square at the intersection of Myrtle and Cooper Avenues in Glendale, which is known as the Glendale Veterans Triangle. It is expected to go out to bid and start construction by next year, according to Renz.

Rendering courtesy of the Department of Design and Construction



Community urges new Ridgewood Theater owners to discuss site plans

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The curtain might be closed for good at the Ridgewood Theater.

The 1915 building has been vacant since March 2008, said Theodore Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID). In 2010, the Guzman brothers took over ownership and intended to put a supermarket in the building, but the plan was never implemented. The brothers are now selling, with the new owners expected to come in at the end of May, according to George Danut of the CPEX brokerage firm.

“Whatever the new owners have in mind, it will be good if they engage the community going forward,” said Mercy Wong, co-founder of the We Love Ridgewood Theater group and member of Community Board 5.

Danut said the new owners, whose names could not be disclosed due to terms of the sale, shelled out $7 million for the property. With the facade registered as a landmark, the new owners plan to renovate the building shortly after the deal is closed. They plan to put in a retail space on the bottom floor and convert the top into a residential spot, Danut said.

But not so fast, said Ridgewood residents.

Wong has worked since 2010 to revitalize the vacant theater with hopes of making it an entertainment venue. She and the group have reached out to community leaders and politicians to see what can be done, and said the Guzmans’ sale “threw them for a loop.”

“Generations of Ridgewood residents have gone to the theater,” Wong said. “They’ve gone on their first dates there, gone to prom [and] graduated high school. It has a really deep history in the neighborhood.”

Danut said the new owners have retail and residential properties in Brooklyn that have done well, so “they know what they’re doing.” Community members still want to sit down and discuss options for the space.

“Whether the new owners will be receptive to what the community wants, that I can’t tell you,” Renz said.

Wong said she has spoken with people that live in the area or have been to the theater, and many want the site restored as something entertainment-related or even as a theater.

“This is a cause worth saving,” Wong said. “The owners could be risking the identity of the building.”

Renz said BID is open to discussions with the owners and simply wants to restore the site to viable use.

Once the new owners have officially moved in, Renz was told they would meet with him and other community representatives.

“We’re open to any kind of adaptive use,” Renz said. “If they decide to do housing on the upper [level], maybe they’ll allow the bottom to go to entertainment use. We can help each other.”

“At least listen to us,” he added. “That’s all we’re asking at this point.”

The Guzman brothers could not be reached for comment as of press time.