The recent decision by the Board of Standards and Appeals to unanimously approve the number of apartments in the proposed multi-use complex, RKO Keith Theater developer Patrick Thompson is closer than anyone has been to achieving a feat 25 years in the making.
The exciting $160 million plan to restore the landmark lobby, build a 17-story tower with stores, 357 rental apartments and a community center will begin construction either at the end of 2011, or – more than likely – the first quarter of 2012.
After 50 years of being one of the city’s most popular movie houses, the 2,900 seat RKO Keith was sold in 1986, gutted and has sat in ruin ever since.
With all the other building projects in Downtown Flushing this will be the exactly perfect topper to renaissance of Flushing as a destination and the crown jewel gateway to Queens and the city as a whole.
THE BAD …
State Senator Malcolm Smith has called for a formal investigation surrounding the timing and circumstances surrounding Peninsula Hospitals’ scheduled demise. It would be the fifth hospital to be closed in the borough in the past decade.
We say that is too many. All that can be done to save this facility for its community who rallied in the rain last weekend, must be done.
We hope that the Commissioner of the State Health Department, New York State Attorney General’s office and Comptroller John Liu’s office will act together to suspend the closing in favor of a formal probe into the hospital’s $60 million debt.
We say with every hospital closing – this will cost lives – and we say it again with this dangerous plan.
THE UGLY . . .
A new insidious new game is being played by our MTA and PA boards.
Request toll and fare increases before they are justified or even needed. Make sure they are large and scary too.
The MTA has two 7.5 percent toll hikes built into its next five year plan. Great thinking guys. Worry your riders with ever increasing fares and they will gladly give you less and that with sigh of relief.
The PA tried the same legerdemain by requesting 50 percent toll hikes at its bridges and tunnels. But the governors from New York and New Jersey said no way.
Will there be a toll hike? – You bet there will, but you won’t feel robbed by Peter to pay Paul. You will be glad to pay so much less.
Nice game if you can play it.