View Full Version : Huge Expansion For Kings Plaza

June 26th, 2003, 07:37 PM
From this week's Bay News -

According to the plans filed with the city, Vornado Realty, the
managing agents of the mall, intend to expand the shopping center to
include 240,670 square feet of new retail space with 770 parking
spots at the south side of Avenue U and East 56th St, immediately
adjacent to the existing building.

The addition will include restaurants, movie theaters, parking
facilities, and a new large chain home improvement center.

Construction could begin before the year is out, with the possibility
of new stores opening up in the fall of 2004.

June 26th, 2003, 08:45 PM
I read this. I would be fine with it if it weren't for the home improvement store. First of all, it's not neededs. Second, it's going to no doubt take up too much space and be of the same subpar architecture as all Home Depots and Lowes.

Also, the movie theater is ridiculous. There's a movie theater in Kings Plaza already. They don't need another one.

I really don't know what this is all about. But it's not out of necessity.

June 26th, 2003, 08:51 PM
They are going to take out the movie theater in Kings Plaza, and build a new modern one next door. Kings Plaza needs this expansion badly. Everyone goes to Long Island to shop. When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s everybody went to Kings Plaza.

June 26th, 2003, 08:57 PM
Now the theater makes more sense.

But it still doesn't explain the home improvement store.

June 26th, 2003, 09:05 PM
Don't understand that one either since there is a Home Depot already right down the block on Avenue U. Strange, but from what I read this is going to be much more with a lot of new retail and restaurants. Someone called it Kings Plaza 2 thats how big the expansion could be.

June 27th, 2003, 11:39 AM
By me, there's a Home Depot in Flushing and one, 1 mile away in College Point. *Same nonsense, I guess.

August 11th, 2003, 10:26 AM
NY Post



August 7, 2003 -- A Department of City Planning employee has quit and
turned whistleblower - charging that the city helped a giant
developer keep a Brooklyn community from having a say in plans for
expanding a huge shopping mall.
Laurel Brandstetter resigned in protest from her $49,863 position as
a community coordinator in May.

She charged, in an explosive letter to Community Board 18, that she
was ordered to freeze out Mill Basin residents - who wanted to raise
traffic, design and crime issues before the city approved a major
addition to the Kings Plaza center.

"I was instructed to participate in a process that would specifically
avoid community involvement," wrote Brandstetter.

Vornado Realty Trust, one of the city's biggest owners of commercial
and retail space, owns the mall and wants to add a 12-screen movie
theater, another parking garage and a large home-improvement store.

State Sen. Carl Kruger, who fears the project could lead to major
environmental problems, pointed the finger at City Hall - saying
Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff is a "personal friend and cohort" of
Vornado Chairman and CEO Steven Roth.

Vornado is also the developer of the new skyscraper headquarters on
Lexington Avenue and 59th Street for Mayor Bloomberg's media company,
Bloomberg LP.

Kruger said Brandstetter's letter "gave us our first heads-up in what
has turned out to be one of the greatest assaults by the Bloomberg
administration on the community.

"Where's the Environmental Impact Statement, the traffic study and
the public input?"

City Planning officials responded that no EIS, traffic study or
public hearing is needed as long as the expansion is permitted under
zoning regulations. That's because the mall is an "as of right

Mayoral spokeswoman Jennifer Falk added, "Any allegations of
impropriety are preposterous."

And the planning commission's executive director, Richard Barth,
said, "The allegations about inappropriate behavior are unfortunate
because they're just not true."

Freedom Tower
August 11th, 2003, 03:06 PM
Yeah, there are definately a lot of new home depots opening up. I read on their website they open one every 42 hours. Amazing. Besides, I like home depot, they sell everything there.

August 11th, 2003, 05:07 PM
There is one a few blocks away, being around there today.

August 11th, 2003, 05:45 PM
This week's Brooklyn Skyline

Mall Rat

Aug. 11, 2003
By Elisha Pappacoda

A Brooklyn City Planning worker said she quit her job after being
asked to hide plans to build a second mega-shopping center at Kings
Plaza and local officials are nothing short of enraged.

In a letter sent to Community Board 18 in May, "whistle-blower"
Laurel Brandstetter wrote that she "was instructed to participate in
a process that would specifically avoid community involvement."

Brandstetter, who briefly worked as community coordinator of Brooklyn
for City Planning, said she witnessed city staffers helping
developers design an "as of right" project that would leave local
residents in the dark until it was too late.

"I do understand community planning and it is blatantly obvious that
it is absent from this particular process," wrote Brandstetter.

The Department of City Planning released this statement on August 8
in response to the allegations:

"It is unfortunate that a disgruntled, former junior employee would
make such baseless charges. These allegations are simply not true.
Unfortunately, the individual levying these allegations against the
Department has chosen to ignore the fact that the private project in
question is as of right under zoning, meaning it has no requirement
for public review. We always encourage, but cannot mandate, that
developers of as of right projects inform the communities of their

A 12-screen movie complex, Lowe's home improvement store, additional
parking and possibly more retail spaces could soon shoot up on the
property which was once Kings Plaza's outdoor parking lot. The
theater at Kings Plaza on Flatbush Avenue would likely be closed and
replaced with more retail spaces.

"They've been so brazen and they so disregarded the community that
the Department of City Planning has already told the Brooklyn
Buildings Commissioner that they have signed off on the proposal and
that she is directed to file a plan for demolition, a plan for
excavation, and a building permit," state Senator Carl Kruger
said. "This project is being fast-tracked without ever bringing it to
the community board."

The senator and Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano
have been vocal opponents of the mall's business practices over the

"Kings Plaza is an obnoxious intrusion," said Turano, but she
admitted Vornado Realty, the developer of Kings Plaza and Kings Plaza
2 (as Kruger calls it) is not required by law to run plans through
the board.

"They don't have to because they did it as of right but they've
gotten certain privileges that they could have only gotten through
the City Planning Commission," Turano said. "The City Planning
Commission worked overboard to get rid of us the community input."

Possibly even more shocking than the notion of two huge malls
standing next to each other is Kruger's accusation that Deputy Mayor
Daniel Doctoroff has worked "in collusion" with Vornado Realty CEO
Steve Roth in what Kruger labels an "unholy alliance."

Kruger alleges Roth is a "personal friend and co-conspirator with
Deputy Mayor Doctoroff."

Vornado is developing the new skyscraper headquarters for Bloomberg
LP on Lexington Avenue and is working with Doctoroff on plans for the

"What is happening here at Kings Plaza? Why is Steve Roth and Vornado
Realty working hand-in-hand with the Department of City Planning in
such an unethical fashion that one of their own planners chose to
resign rather than be part of this illicit scheme?" Kruger asked.

Vornado's plan also includes valet parking on the upper levels of the
mall to avoid the usual legal parking requirements, Turano said.

Customers who park there may be forced to park thousands of feet away
from the theater only to enter the mall, go downstairs, exit the mall
and walk across East 55th Street to get to the theater.

"There is no possibility that parking that is in adjacent building
from this movie theater will in fact be used for this movie theater,"
Kruger said.

It is important to note, East 55th Street runs directly between Kings
Plaza and the lot. In order for developers to gain control of the
street they must go through the community board, where they will face
tough opposition.

"Now that they got all this, now they want to come to the community
and we think we know why," Turano said. "Because now they would like
to take the sidewalk away and make a well, like a driveway into their
lot, so there won't be a backup of traffic," she said.

"They won't get an inch the community has to give them that, City
Planning can't," she added.

Lowe's could also buy the vacant property between the lot and the
Avenue U shopping center which houses Walgreen's, Home Depot and
other small stores.

The mere presence of a massive Lowe's could prove to be fatal for the
mini Home Depot it could even cause the demise of the entire
shopping center, Kruger said.

Turano used Home Depot as an example of a community-minded business.

"Home Depot met with us on several occasions and contributed $10,000
to the local civic association just as an offering," she said "They
didn't have to come to us either it was as of right."

Last week Kruger fired off a letter to Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner
of the Department of Investigation, imploring her to investigate the
involvement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Doctoroff,
Department of City Planning Director Amanda Burden, Brooklyn Director
Regina Myer and the entire senior City Planning staff. Kruger also
forwarded the letter to the Brooklyn and Manhattan district attorneys.

According to a New York Post article dated Aug. 7, the Mayor's office
has denied the allegations.

But Kruger isn't buying it.

"It is absolutely impossible for the Bloomberg administration to say
that there is no collusion between them and Vornado Realty," he
said. "This is an invasion by corporate America in an underhanded,
deceitful and potentially illegal move on the part of the planners."



August 25th, 2003, 10:52 PM
I'm seeing a similar expansion for Queens Center Mall. Basically it's building expansion over a former parking lot to the east. Sorry I don't have a digital camera, otherwise I'd show you all pictures of this magnifercent growth. *

August 26th, 2003, 06:18 AM

August 29th, 2003, 11:56 PM
It's funny to see NIMBYs when they lose, and even funnier when it happens so quickly. I say full steam ahead with the expansion. Vornado has been doing some great things with King's Plaza and I hope it continues. BTW, one new Home Depot every 42 hours? In 2030 the country will be one giant home improvement store!

October 13th, 2005, 08:56 PM
its' official.... its going to be Loews as a home improvement tenant in the expanded Kings Plaza.......as reported by therealdeal.net

March 16th, 2008, 04:14 AM
Developers, You're On! City Wants To Spruce Up Brooklyn's Kings Theater

byLysandra Ohrstrom (http://www.observer.com/2007/author/lysandra-ohrstrom)
March 14, 2008


The city is looking for developers to renovate and operate the landmarked, long-derelict Loew’s Kings Theater—“the Kings” as locals called it back in the day—on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Designed in 1929 by Rapp and Rapp Architects, the 3,769-seat movie palace modeled after the Paris Opera House is the only one of the five “Wonder Theaters” Loew’s built in the city that has not been renovated or converted into a church.

Rehabilitating the majestic, rotting Art Deco building will not be cheap. It has remained shuttered since 1978—the city took it over in 1983—and the city's Economic Development Corporation estimated that the project would cost a minimum of $70 million in the request for proposals it issued this week.

The roofs of the Loew’s retail spaces have collapsed and several of the walls have serious water damage; no interior maintenance has been done for three decades; and the building is teaming with asbestos, lead, and toxic mold. But the mahogany paneling and chandeliers are still in place.

In the RFP, the EDC is encouraging the 68,300-square-foot theater to be reused and potentially expanded to accommodate additional performance and rehearsal space for dance, theater, and music; meeting and event rooms; and an entertainment venue. The parcel also includes two adjacent, city-owned lots on East 22nd Street. The site is zoned for entertainment and restricted retail uses, and the RFP says any retail development included in the proposal must strengthen the neighborhood’s existing offerings.

There have been several aborted attempts to make-over the Loew’s. In 1990, the city’s public development corporation released a “Requests for Expressions of Interests,” the New York Times reported (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE0DF1338F93BA25750C0A9669582 60); and Magic Johnson planned to renovate it in 1999. Last December the city floated the idea again, but did not release projections on the cost or time-frame.

Even if developers bite this time, the project won't be completed anytime in the near future (http://curbed.com/archives/2006/06/16/the_kings_in_exile_a_flatbush_movie_palace.php) or before Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz retires in 2009. But here's a sweetener from a story in the Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2007/12/04/2007-12-04_famed_loews_kings_movie_palace_remains_s.html): This might be one of the few construction projects in Brooklyn that seems unlikely to encounter much community opposition.

Copyright 2008 The New York Observer.

March 16th, 2008, 04:39 PM
Well currently the only two out of the five built that are rehabed and being used for arts and entertainment are the Loew's Jersey Theater at Journal Square in Jersey City and the Loew's Paradise Theater at Grand Course in the Bronx. This would be a nice addition to Brooklyn arts and give Brooklyn back one of the great old movie palaces and a real organic place for the arts. I have been past it multiple times and it pains me to see the advanced deteoriated condition its in. I really hope this happens.

February 3rd, 2010, 07:25 AM
Developers, You're On! City Wants To Spruce Up Brooklyn's Kings Theater

byLysandra Ohrstrom (http://www.observer.com/2007/author/lysandra-ohrstrom)
March 14, 2008

The city is looking for developers to renovate and operate the landmarked, long-derelict Loew’s Kings Theater—“the Kings” as locals called it back in the day—on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
Copyright 2008 The New York Observer.

February 2, 2010, 6:40 pm

Crumbling Movie Palace Finds an Angel

By A. G. SULZBERGER (http://wirednewyork.com/author/a-g-sulzberger/) AND NATASHA LENNARD (http://wirednewyork.com/author/natasha-lennard/)

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times Interior view of the Loew’s Kings theater on Flatbush Avenue.

The building bears little resemblance to the extravagantly sumptuous “wonder theater” that wowed audiences in 1929.

The rusting, dirt-caked marquee that hangs outside the Loew’s Kings Theater over a bustling commercial stretch of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn last promoted a film in 1977. Years of neglect have left the ornate interior rotted by time, stripped by thieves and desecrated by vandals and pigeons. (See slide show.)

New York City, which seized the building decades ago in lieu of back taxes, has long teased the neighborhood (http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/22/nyregion/revival-of-the-crown-jewel-of-brooklyn-is-stalled-again.html) with proposals to restore the lost luster of a local landmark. But this time, the city says, is for real.

Left, Theatre Historical Society of America; right, Richard Perry /The New York Times Three views of the Loew’s Kings theater: in its heyday in 1930, in the dumps in 2007…

Martinez+Johnson Architecture …and in an architect’s rendering of its proposed renovation.

A developer has signed an agreement, made a down payment on a $70 million renovation of the Kings and plans to turn it back into a functioning entertainment venue, this time presenting live performances, city officials said Tuesday.

“We’re on our way to making that dream come to true,” said Marty Markowitz (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/marty_markowitz/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the Brooklyn borough president, who has fought for years to save the theater and will formally announce the deal at his State of the Borough address Wednesday night.

After a four year process -– and many false starts — the city has selected a company based in Houston, ACE Theatrical Group, to renovate and operate the theater. It would be, once again, the biggest indoor theater in Brooklyn and would host 250 concerts, theatrical performances and community events annually, officials said.

“We feel like we have a deal we can deliver on,” said Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “We are confident this project is going to move forward.”

ACE, which has worked on similar restoration projects throughout the country including the Boston Opera House, will soon begin a review and design process expected to take a couple of years. Preliminary plans call for the space to open as soon as 2014, Mr. Pinsky said. The city has committed $50 million to the project, with another $15 million coming in the form of tax credits and $5 million from the developer, which would also be responsible for any extra spending, said Mr. Pinsky.

On Flatbush Avenue near Beverly Road in Flatbush, where the theater is flanked by discount furniture and clothing stores as well as a vacant lot and a boarded-up storefront, news of the renovation was greeted with enthusiasm by residents who had never been inside it. “It would be a great thing if they made it a venue again,” said Ulana Lewin, 30, who works at Relly Clothes across the street. “It would be good for business.”

The Kings, as it was known to generations of Brooklynites, opened on Sept. 7, 1929 with a screening of “Evangeline (http://www.moviefone.com/movie/evangeline/1057960/main)” and a special appearance by its star, Dolores del Rio (http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&va=dolores+del+rio&sz=all). One of five of “Wonder Theaters” built by Loew’s – sister venues in Jersey City and elsewhere have already been converted into churches or restored into entertainment spaces – the 68,000-square-foot theater initially featured vaudeville acts and a pipe organ before moving exclusively to movies.

Over the years, as economics began to favor multiplexes, fewer and fewer of the 3,200 seats were filled. On Aug. 30, 1977 the Kings screened its final feature: “Islands in the Stream (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076211/),” starring George C. Scott (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/george_c_scott/index.html?inline=nyt-per). This time, the star did not stop by for a special appearance. Two years later the theater, owing back taxes, was seized by the city and began to quietly disintegrate.

“If it was located in Midtown Manhattan it never would have been able to fall into the state of disrepair that it was allowed to fall into,” said Mr. Pinsky.

For the last 10 years, John Friedman, the property manager, has watched over the building he frequented as a younger man. On Tuesday he led a brief tour. The beams of his heavy black flashlight struggled to cut through the gloom, barely reaching the vaulted ceilings in the cavernous orchestra dome.

Some original touches survive, like dusty crystal chandeliers that still hang in the lobby. The stage has aged less gracefully, bookended by torn burgundy curtains and covered in droppings from the birds that roosted until a broken skylight was sealed.

David Anderson, the president of ACE Theatrical, said it would take a while to evaluate the extent of the damage, but he emphasized the company’s commitment to the original design. “We’ll be able to recreate what it looks like when it was first put into use,” he said. “We’ll be able to very accurately recreate what is no longer there and restore what is there.”

That would be welcome news to the devoted supporters (http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1360/) of the theater, which even boasts its own Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brooklyn-NY/Loews-Kings-Theatre/322225485388). “It’s an absolutely wonderful space,” said Richard J. Sklenar, executive director of the Theatre Historical Society of America (http://www.historictheatres.org/). “There’s nothing there that can’t be taken care of; $70 million sounds like it can do the job.”

Even those who typically pass the theater without a glance become curious when they hear the clatter of the metal gates rolling open during Mr. Friedman’s weekly visits, he said.

“Then it’s a thousand questions,” he said. “’What is this place? Is it reopening? Are there gonna be jobs?’”

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/02/02/nyregion/theater480.jpgRichard Perry /The New York Times Awaiting an audience: the Loew’s Kings interior, 2007.


Copyright 2010 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)