May 21, 2019 Staff Report
The future of the historic RKO Keith Theater remains dim and steps toward its demise continue.
Madison Realty Corp., a Manhattan-based private equity firm, announced that it has provided property owner Xinyuan Real Estate with a $30 million pre-development loan—funds that will be used to bulldoze and redevelop the 135-35 Northern Blvd. site, the Commercial Observer first reported.
Xinyuan, a Chinese real estate development firm, plans to build a 16-story, 269-unit condo building on the site, which will also have 17,000 square feet of retail space spread across the first two floors. Additionally, there will be 15,000 square feet reserved for a community facility, and 305 parking spaces.
The developer plans to complete the property’s demolition by February 2020. Xinyuan acquired the property in 2016 for $66 million, according to records.
“This well-capitalized sponsor has done a fantastic job assembling and planning this shovel-ready site, and the deal was particularly attractive at a less than $100 per square foot loan basis and less than 50 percent of cost,” said Josh Zegen, co-founder and managing principal of MRC.
The theater dates back to 1928 and the building was not protected from the wrecking ball.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission had, however, granted landmark status to three areas inside the theater—the grand foyer, lobby and ticket booth.
The theater closed in 1986 and had badly deteriorated.
Xinyuan went before the LPC to present its plans in 2017, which included rehabilitating and preserving the foyers and ticket lobby within the glassy building. The proposal was approved.