Flushing landmark RKO Keith’s movie theater is for sale again

The building opened in 1928.
Photo via Facebook/Save the Flushing RKO Keith’s Theatre

Here we go again.

The landmarked RKO Keith’s movie theater in downtown Flushing is up for sale in a title change which will be the fourth since 2002.

Commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield has been exclusively retained on behalf of owner JK Equities to sell the site, which went on the market last week.

Steven Pruess of Cushman & Wakefield said the new owners will follow previously set plans to build a mixed-use project featuring residential, retail and community facility components.

The building has been approved for a 16-story structure with 269 residential units, 24,493 square feet of multilevel retail and an approximately 15,727-square-foot community facility.

Bob Knakal, chairman of Cushman & Wakefield’s New York Investment Sales division, said that the site’s downtown Flushing location has attracted a massive amount of interest from foreign investors.

“The wave of new development occurring in Flushing has truly revitalized the area and the rebirth of this celebrated structure will only continue to drive this growth within the neighborhood,” Knakal said.

The current owner was originally planning to build on the site, but decided to put the property on the market after receiving several strong offers from interested buyers.

“In the past six months, we have received several unsolicited offers to purchase the site at attractive pricing,” said Jerry Karlik of JK Equities.

According to Preuss, the interested parties were drawn in by tax abatements attached to the property.

The site has been approved for the 421A tax abatement, a program that essentially ensures tax exemption for 10 years to developers building a multi-unit residential project on vacant land. The 421A tax abatement is no longer available to new developments after it expired in January.

“The location is very good but all the entitlements they’ve worked and gotten approved the past several years created a lot of value for the new buyer,” Preuss said, “so they can just take it over and get started right away.”

The Art Deco-style building opened as a theater in 1928 and has been vacant since it closed in 1986. Since then, several developers have unsuccessfully attempted to install a variety of different projects at the site, which is a historical landmark.

File photo
File photo

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