A historic 1928 theater is restored to serve as the lobby of a new residential building, giving visitors and residents a glimpse of its former splendor.
Designed by Thomas W. Lamb in a Spanish baroque revival style, RKO Keith’s Theater served as the main entertainment venue for Flushing and the surrounding neighborhood for half a century. With the eventual decline of movie palaces, the building fell into disrepair. Although the lobby and grand foyer received landmark status in 1984, a developer built a shopping center on the site, illegally destroying part of the landmarked spaces.
After standing abandoned for thirty years, the theater has a new owner who is finally taking responsibility for restoring the interior lobby and foyer as a part of a new residential building. The renovation will occur alongside the rise of a new 17-story structure above the historic theater, acknowledging its complex dialectic with the past.
On Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens
Residential complex, reuse of historic theater as lobby, retail space, community facility
Xin Development Group International, Inc.
Architecture; exterior envelope; interior design of public spaces
Preservation Architect: Ayon Studio, New York; Structural: WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff, New York; MEP Engineer of Record: Edwards & Zuck, P.C., New York; Landscape Architecture: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Interiors: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Images: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners