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Perhaps nothing is as emblematic of both the old and new Brooklyn as the newly restored Kings Theatre in Flatbush. After a $93 million restoration, it opened in February for the first time in 40 years and has gone on to win a preservation award and kindle renewed interest in the area.

And now it will be acquired by Ambassador, a vertically integrated theater chain, which produces shows, sells tickets and runs theaters. The iconic theater was not an acquisition target on its own but is part of another theater group, ACE Theatrical Group, that Ambassador is acquiring, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (more…)

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Clockwise from top left: Pavilion Theater and renderings of the proposed redesign via Hidrock Realty, photo by Nitehawk

Its redesign might not be a blockbuster hit, but Park Slope’s Pavilion Theater at 188 Prospect Park West has already caught the eye of a hip Williamsburg Cinema operator, reported DNAinfo. Matthew Viragh, owner of Nitehawk Cinema on Metropolitan Avenue, told DNA he’d like to take over the Pavilion once its renovation is complete.

Nitehawk is known for its hipster atmosphere and for serving cocktails and dinner during films. Nitehawk would be a catch for the Pavilion — in previous years, the theater was plagued by complaints of trash, poor heating and bedbugs.

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The long abandoned Empire Stores warehouse complex along the Brooklyn waterfront is slated to open to the public in spring 2016, but from both inside and outside the antiquated structure appears nowhere close to complete.

“It’s topped out, we’re just putting in the finishing touches over the next 30 days,” developer Midtown Equities Director of Leasing David Beare told Brownstoner on a recent hard-hat tour.

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Empire Stores in 1968

The austerely impressive Empire Stores along 53-83 Water Street reveals New York City’s storied founding purpose as a port city. The complex of seven nearly 150-year-old warehouses bears “mute testimony to the prosperous commercial activity of Brooklyn during the second half of the 19th century,” in the words of the Landmarks designation report.

Today, it is a construction site, slated to open next year as a 500,000-square-foot multipurpose facility. The red-bricked, iron-shuttered walls will house various gourmet eateries as well as high-end office space, stores, a rooftop garden and exhibition space, but for most of its life, before being abandoned, Empire Stores stocked a different kind of luxury good. As a cargo warehouse, coffee beans, sugar, molasses, and the likes from Africa, South America and Cuba were the main occupants of the building. (more…)

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Prolific Brooklyn developer Brookland Capital has moved into Clinton Hill with an $8,800,000 purchase of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. What’s next for the former house of worship at 259 Washington Avenue? Condos, of course, according to the Commercial Observer, which first reported the sale.

However, the church is landmarked, according to city records, which could severely limit what Brookland Capital is able to do with the property. The Observer said Brookland Capital plans to restore “part of the exterior” and “extend the building in the back.” (more…)

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Brooklyn’s tallest tower has some serious competition in the works. Ava DoBro topped out earlier this year at 595 feet, but a tower nearly twice its size may be brewing for a lot just a block from the residential high rise, Crain’s reports.

Developer Michael Stern — he of the 1,400-foot-tall (and we mean tall) tower rising at 111 West 57th Street on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row — just made a $90,000,000 deal with developer pal Joe Chetrit of Chetrit Group to purchase the former Dime Savings Bank of New York at 9 Dekalb Avenue. The building is lovely. But no one thinks that Stern and Chetrit are in it for the classical architecture.

Buying the building comes with 300,000 square feet of air rights which would enable the duo to build a 600,000 square foot tower on an adjacent site they co-own at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension, according to Crain’s. The building could be the city’s first to rise taller than 1,000 feet outside of Manhattan.

Brownstoner took the above photo just this morning, and added CityRealty‘s rendering of the possible new construction to show how very towering the tower may be.

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing to consider alterations to Park Slope’s landmarked Pavilion Theater has been rescheduled. Previously set for Tuesday, August 4, the hearing will now take place Tuesday, August 18.

The commission will consider Morris Adjmi Architects’ design for a new condo building next to the theater, as well an addition and restoration of the 1929 neo-Renaissance theater. The community board already conditionally approved the plan, despite some residents claiming the proposal looks like a “penitentiary.” (more…)

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New renderings have been released showing Hidrock Realty’s plan to convert Park Slope’s Pavilion Theater, and the vacant restaurant space next to it, into condos. According to Leslie Albrecht of DNAinfo, who attended the Community Board 6 Landmarks and Land Use Committee meeting Thursday night, some residents said the design resembled a “penitentiary.”

Even worse, someone compared it to Washington, D.C.

But the news wasn’t all bad for Hidrock Realty. Despite widespread criticism of a perceived failure to integrate the building into the architectural styles of the surrounding neighborhood, the committee voted unanimously to approve the plans to build 24 condos on Bartel-Pritchard Square and restore the Pavilion Theater at 188 Prospect Park West, as long as certain changes were made. (more…)

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A developer’s plan to convert the Park Slope Pavilion movie theater into condos will be scrutinized at a hearing by the Community Board 6 Landmarks Committee Thursday, according to an announcement we received from community organization Park Slope Civic Council.

As we’ve reported, owner Hidrock Realty filed plans in April to create 24 condos, an underground parking garage, and some 8,000 square feet of retail space on the site of the long-running theater.

The development – which will include a new building constructed adjacent to the Pavilion, on a one-story site formerly occupied by a restaurant — will include a smaller art-house theater, according to Hidrock. (more…)

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One of Crown Heights’ most important houses is about to begin its new life as affordable housing.

The John and Elizabeth Truslow House at 96 Brooklyn Avenue was originally built for a brilliantly wealthy family who made a fortune in stove manufacturing. But after it moldered in obscurity, affordable housing developers NIA JV and ELH Management swooped in to brighten its future.

Restoration on the home — which began in 2013 — is visibly nearing completion on the outside. When Brownstoner visited on Sunday, the exterior was notably spruced up and, we presume, all the holes and leaks fixed. When it’s done, its seven renovated apartments will be occupied by families making $36,680 to $120,240 a year. (more…)

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Just days after developer Greystone released a rendering for the luxury rental building it is planning for next door to Park Slope’s much-watched Lyceum, a landmarked former public bath on development-heavy 4th Avenue, it announced it has found a tenant for the century-old Beaux Arts building: Blink Fitness.

The no-frills gym chain will be taking up the whole 16,700-square-foot space at 227 4th Avenue, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. Greystone bought the Lyceum this year at a foreclosure auction, intending to turn it into condos — and subsequently snapped up the development site next door.

When Greystone recently announced it had dropped its condo plans for the Lyceum and was seeking a retailer or two, Brownstoner commenters said they would like to see an Apple or Trader Joe’s move into the space. (more…)

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If you’ve ever visited Green-Wood Cemetery, you’ve probably seen and wondered about the old Weir Greenhouse. The shuttered and dilapidated building sits across the street from Green-Wood’s main entrance at 749-750 5th Avenue, on the corner of 25th Street.

Despite its ramshackle appearance, the Weir Greenhouse is a significant building, the only known Victorian commercial greenhouse still standing in New York City. Landmarked in 1982, it was the first and last stop for many visitors to Green-Wood, Brooklyn’s greatest tourist attraction in the 19th century, and will soon be so again.

Green-Wood bought it and is remaking it into a visitor’s center. (The nonprofit landmark crowed about its purchase on its blog here.) On Tuesday the cemetery’s architect firm, Page Ayres Cowley, will present its plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. A presentation is available online for viewing here or on the LPC website here.

Big changes are in the works, including restoring the greenhouse. The cemetery also wants to demolish “ancillary structures” — including two 19th-century buildings that look like row houses adjacent to the greenhouse — add onto the greenhouse, and put up a new building that wraps around the greenhouse. (more…)