It’s a wrap for the Ridgewood Theatre.
Bushburg Properties LLC, which bought the near century-old landmarked building earlier this year, has applied to the Department of Buildings to convert the upper floors of the existing structure to 40 units for residential use and the first floor for retail space.
The filing came to the dismay of many residents, including members of Community Board 5 (CB5), which recently met with Bushburg to express that the neighborhood wanted to see the building used for entertainment again.
“We want some kind of commercial use and preferably some kind of entertainment venue, because that’s what brings other people,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District and a member of CB5.
The Ridgewood Theatre has served generations of moviegoers in the community since it opened in 1916. The theatre closed in 2008 after ticket sales went south. The building’s exterior was landmarked in 2010, meaning that the owners are limited to modifying the interior.
A Bushburg official estimated that after the application process the construction to convert the building will take from 18 to 30 months. The structure will not be expanded and the owners have not decided if the apartments will serve low-income residents.
In the application to the city’s buildings department, Bushburg left the first floor open for retail use. The group has met with some potential businesses, but has not finalized anything and is open to feedback from the community.
“We’re open for suggestions. We are trying to accommodate the community with the first floor,” said Israel Hirsch, a Bushburg partner. “We’re not looking to maximize the dollar value we do want to give something back to the community.”