By Gina Martinez
Flushing will be getting its first movie theater in 30 years at the former site of Flushing mall on 133-15 39th Ave. between College Point Boulevard and Prince Street.
Construction has begun on the 1.2 million-square-foot, mixed used Tangram project. It will be made up of four 15- or 16-story buildings with 300 luxury condo units, 80,000 square feet of office space and a hotel. Construction is expected to be completed in 2018.
The 34,000-square-foot movie theater will be located in a two-story retail portion of the project, with six to eight screens and seating for up to 800 people. There will also be a 24,000-square-foot food hall, themed restaurants, a culinary food hall, beer garden and a variety of entertainment options, according developers F&T Group and SCG America.
Geoffrey Bailey of SCG Retail said the new mixed use building will be a welcome addition to downtown Flushing.
“Flushing is ready for Tangram,” he said. “The demographic shift in Flushing is more dramatic than anywhere in the five boroughs and its existing retail and entertainment options have not evolved to meet the needs of this demographic. From this perspective, Tangram checks all the boxes. It’s a transformative project that will provide unique options under one roof for all of the greater Flushing area to enjoy.”
Right now the closest movie theater for Flushing residents is College Point Multiplex Cinema in Whitestone.
This will be the first movie theater in the neighborhood since the historic RKO Theater opened on Christmas Day 1928. In its heyday it hosted performances by mega stars Bob Hope, Judy Garland and Jerry Lewis. In 1984 the theater’s lobby and staircase were designated landmarks by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The theater was closed down in 1986 and since then its fate has been in limbo with multiple developers buying, then selling the theater.
RKO was recently purchased by Xinyuan Real Estate, a China-based real estate developer and property manager in August. Xinyuan acquired the derelict building located at 135-35 Northern Blvd. for $66 million and plans to build a 269-unit residential building. Xinyuan is the fifth developer to try to convert the abandoned theater.
(clarifying Geoffrey Baily works for SCG Retail)
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart