New RKO Keith’s Theater plan to be presented to CB 7

By Madina Toure

The owner of RKO Keith’s Theater in downtown Flushing is going to present plans to build condos at the former theater to Community Board 7 in March.

Because the developer, JK Equities, decreased the number of condominium units and parking spaces and is increasing the building’s height, the city Board of Standards and Appeals asked the company to explain the plan to CB 7 again to keep the community informed, said Jerry Karlik, one of the principal owners of Flushing Square Realty LLC, the property’s title holder and head of JK Equities.

“We’re altering the BSA approval,” Karlik said. “We need to present to the community what the changes are. Initially, there was a significantly different number of units and a lot more parking.”

The developer is constructing a 16-story mixed-used building at the former theater on 135-35 Northern Blvd., with 269 condominium units and a parking garage with about 320 parking spaces. The developer also plans to increase the building’s height by 15 feet to accommodate the number of parking spaces.

The building would include roughly 40,000 square feet of commercial space, 16,000 square feet of which will house a community facility.

The theater has been vacant for more than 20 years and has been taken over by numerous developers, including the notorious Thomas Huang. Karlik bought the theater for $30 million from Patrick Thompson, who could no longer develop the property due to financial problems.

Karlik and Thompson discussed the property for years, but Karlik decided to go forward with his plan given the rise of Flushing’s residential market. He used Thompson’s proposal for the building but decided to build condos instead and brought the number of units down to 270 from 357.

Karlik and the other principal owners — Eddie Mi, Min Ouyang and Henry Lam — hired historic landmark consultants to help renovate and bring back the landmarked interior.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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