Pavilion Theater Condos Plan Compared to Penitentiary, Conditionally Approved

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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.

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    The vacant restaurant space will be torn down to make room for the new condo building, while the Pavilion will remain a theater, sort of. The building will include space for condos, plus retail space and a new, higher quality theater.

    Plans by Morris Adjmi Architects call for a total renovation, another floor on top, and a 16-car private parking garage under the building. The 14th Street side of the theater, now mostly dominated by fire escapes, would be the main entrance for the residences, with windows from top to bottom.

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    The Pavilion Theatre has been inspiring alternate periods of hope and disgust in Park Slope for decades now. As the Sanders Theatre, it opened in 1928, with 1,516 seats, Moorish interior design, and a Wurlitzer organ. It closed in 1978, and remained vacant until 1995, when it reopened as the Pavilion.

    Sanders-Theatre-1928

    The Sanders Theatre, 1928. Photo via Cinema Treasures

    sanders-theatre-1970s

    The Sanders Theatre, 1970s. Photo courtesy of Forgotten NY

    When it first re-opened in 1996, it was a three-theater space, but by 2004 the owner had crammed nine much smaller screens into the same space. Over the years, the management gained a reputation for carelessness: publishing incorrect movie times, missing reel changes or leaving films out of focus, not cleaning or maintaining rooms. There were bedbug rumors and theaters without heat. Someone we know recently said she was watching a movie there and bats were swooping in front of the screen.

    At this point, people may be ready to replace the Pavilion with just about anything.

    Hidrock has a few more hurdles to go through to get this project built. Even if they come up with a revised plan to placate locals and CB6, they still need approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission and a zoning variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals.

    Community Board Tells Developer to ‘Tone Down’ Pavilion Theater Condos [DNAinfo]
    Pavilion Theater Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Renderings via Hidrock Realty

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