The once-majestic Loews Kings Theater in Flatbush is under major renovation, and NY1 recently got an exclusive look at the work in progress. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Scaffolding is erected on the top of the marquis as the Loews Kings Theater is being restored to its old glory. NY1 got exclusive access inside as the developer updated city officials on the nearly $94 million project which got underway in January.
"We had a lot of water damage, the roof was not intact when we got the building so there had been a lot of water infiltration in the carpeting and behind the walls. So there was a lot of mold and things like that that needed to be remediated before real work could start," said Bill Gillbane of the Gillbane Building Company.
All of the ornate details of the French Renaissance style architecture that were ruined are being re-created. Molds are made. They're filled with plaster and duplicate pieces are made.
The neglected 1929 theater was once a flagship venue in the Loews franchise With high vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and a marble staircase modeled after the Paris Opera House, the city says when it's all restored, it'll be a jewel in the community once again and a big draw.
"We're going to have 3,200 seats here and 250 performances every year so that's a tremendous amount of foot traffic," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball.
The theater closed in 1978 and became city property in 1983 when it was foreclosed on for non payment of taxes. It was not until 2008 that Borough President Marty Markowitz and the city pushed forward on plans to renovate the movie palace that has long history in Brooklyn. It attracted top names in entertainment and was a hub for the community.
"This was the graduation location, for the majority of high schools in Brooklyn. In the '30s, in the '40s, in the '50s, and even throughout the '60s and even early '70s. Until they closed this," Markowitz recalled.
ACE Theatrical Group, which specializes in historic theaters will operate the venue. And it'll will be even bigger than the original as the stage is being expanded some 30,000 square feet through the back of the building.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.