Tag Archives: Patrick Thompson

RKO Keith’s in Flushing sold for $30M to new developer

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File renderings

The former RKO Keith’s movie house in Flushing has changed hands again.

Developer Patrick Thompson has sold the historic theater site for $30 million to JK Equities, a private real estate company based in New York, a spokesperson for the new developers said.

“The offer was generous, and Patrick decided to sell,” said Michael Nussbaum, a former spokesperson for Thompson, who now represents JK Equities founder Jerry Karlik.

“This project has been a long time coming,” Nussbaum said. “We’re hoping that this group will finally put a shovel in the ground.”

Plans to build a 17-story mixed-use apartment tower at 135-35 Northern Boulevard remain the same, Nussbaum said.

The 400,000-square-foot project site still includes 357 rental apartments, 360 parking spaces, stores and a community center.

JK Equities has also committed to restoring RKO Keith’s landmarked lobby.

“The only thing that’s being changed is the ownership,” Nussbaum said. “This will be the tallest building in Flushing when it is completed. That building will just jump right out and give Flushing an incredible landscape.”

The project to transform the long vacant and deteriorated building has been in the works for 25 years.

This is the third title change since 2002, when notorious developer Thomas Huang sold the building he heavily damaged to real estate investor Shaya Boymelgreen.

Boymelgreen later failed to make mortgage payments, allowing Thompson to buy the foreclosed property from the bank for $20 million in 2010.

The theater opened in 1928. Witnessing the end of vaudeville, it closed in 1986.

It is unclear when work will begin, Nussbaum said.

 File photo



RKO Keith’s project has a partner

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Plans to revamp a historic and long-stagnant Flushing landmark are chugging full steam ahead, officials said, despite rumors that the latest owner of the RKO Keith’s Theatre will sell the site.

According to Michael Nussbaum, a spokesperson for Patrick Thompson — who bought the foreclosed Northern Boulevard property for $20 million in 2010 — the developer is still committed to the project and has no plans to put the property on the market.

In fact, Nussbaum said Thompson now has the additional support of an “interested party” working with him to make sure his $160 million vision sees the light of day.

“In this market place, it’s very difficult to do a project of this size and go at it alone,” Nussbaum said. “When there are partners that want to come into a project like this, if they meet the qualifications, they are more than welcomed.”

The spokesperson would not identify the new financial backer, but said Thompson has “always had relationships with a number of individuals who wished to be his partner on this project.”

Nussbaum said plans to redevelop the vacant movie house into apartments and shops are right on track. The developer is still looking to restore RKO Keith’s historic lobby while building a 17-story tower with stores, 357 rental apartments and a community center.

“Everything is still moving forward. This has been a project that has taken 25 years to come into fruition. We’re looking forward to finally putting a shovel in the ground,” he said.

While Thompson expects the project to be completed in early 2015, Nussbaum said there is no set time frame yet as to when work will begin.

“It will begin sooner than later,” he said.

Meanwhile, theatre preservationists said they’re out of the loop with the project’s plans and remain doubtful — yet hopeful — that constructive work will ensue.

“At this point, we just don’t know what to believe anymore, but I’m giving the developer the benefit of the doubt,” said Rick Gallo, cofounder of Friends of the RKO Keith’s. “I don’t think — in this market — that anybody is going to invest millions of dollars in that area. It just doesn’t make sense to put up another building, but I would love to see exactly what they have planned. I don’t know if they’re going to go through with it. If he does have a financial backer, I hope they go forward. As long as he keeps to his word, that will be fine.”