Bed Stuy’s Slave Theater Still Looking for a Buyer

The historic Slave Theater at Fulton Street and Bedford Avenue has been empty since 1999, when it was a Regal movie theater. It was on the market in March 2009 for $2,950,000, at which time Curbed reported the building had “received several offers north of 2 million” but the owners were holding out for someone who’d preserve it as a theater. It apparently didn’t sell because it has been re-listed by Massey Knakal Realty for the same price of $2,950,000. There is the option to buy the theater separately or with its sister theater The Slave Theater II on Nostrand. After all this wait, we hope they can find a buyer with the money and time for a careful restoration.
Listing for 1215-17 Fulton Street [Massey Knakal Realty]
Bed Stuy Theater Seeks Savior [Curbed]
Slave Theater Hits the Market [Brownstoner]
Slave Theater in Court, Preservation Effort Weak [Brownstoner] GMAP

12 Comment

  • is that photo a few years old? I don’t think it is from May 2010.

  • Photo may not be 2010, but still pretty accurate as to condition. There’s now a big sign up that says “for sale by owner, Reverend Samuel Boykin”, and a phone number.

    I recently saw photos of the interior exhibited at the 5 Myles Gallery on St. John’s Place. The photos are by Hiroki Kobayashi, who lives here in Crown Heights. It is amazing in there. Lots of work to be done, but what a building. Here’s the link:

    I wish I had the money, or knew deep pockets who did. This needs to be preserved.

  • The area could use a real movie theater. Can you make money on movie theaters these days?

    The Pavilion in Park Slope was a huge mess for years until they cleaned it up and reopened. Now it’s back to it’s popcorn-ground-into-the-carpet glory days.

    Our area is ripe for it’s own kid’s birthday party venue. It would be great to have an art-film free place nearby, screening hard hitting computer animation as well as other mindless action-themed crap : )

  • Any theater in that area would be destroyed in weeks. No major theater chain would ever bother opening in that hood.

  • As much as I love living in this general area I would NEVER attend a movie of any type in this neighborhood. If I go to the movies I usually make my way to UWS or UES. The “element” account is much lower and the theaters are a little cleaner from my experience. I’ve tried Court Street a few times, but that place is disgusting and even the last show is a nightmare with all the people talking, cell phones ringing, and general rudeness.

  • “I’ve tried Court Street a few times, but that place is disgusting and even the last show is a nightmare with all the people talking, cell phones ringing, and general rudeness.”

    Man. I must go on the wrong nights.

  • I’ve never had much trouble at Court St. I’m more afraid of catching fire than of catching attitude.

    I’m a strong proponent of catching the geezer showtimes though – too late for day camps and too early for affected youth of any stripe (hipsters, gangsters, it’s all the same to me). Plus, everyone knows geezers can’t use cell phones in the dark. The buttons are too small to see.

    I think a movie theater might work fine at that location.

  • This place does NOT need to be preserved. Tear it down and start from scratch. No major loss there…

  • And let’s not hold the Pavilion up as an example of anything but a monumentally wasted opportunity. The place could be run better by a pack of gibbons.

  • Just wondering, what’s with the name, Slave Theater?

  • @ohheythere

    From the Times:

    ‘The first theater was the century-old Regent Theater at 1215 Fulton Street. [Owner, Judge John Phillips,] renamed it the Slave No. 1 Theater “so that no one would ever forget our struggles,” he said recently, “or what we, as black people, have gone through.” ‘

    The judge’s attempt to encourage community pride. Except that, when you see that awning, it has the opposite effect.

    I hate walking past that building.

    Hopefully, whoever buys the thing will muster up the courage to change the damn name.