RKO Keith’s, the historic and long-defunct theater in downtown Flushing, was purchased by a Chinese developer, Xinyuan Real Estate Co., for $66 million on Monday, the company announced in a press release.
The announcement marks the next chapter in a long history of changing hands and stalled development at the landmarked theatre, which is located at 135-35 Northern Boulevard.
The theater’s ornate lobby and ticket foyer were landmarked by the Landmarks Preservation Committee in 1984. Over the past two decades, the landmarked interior has made it challenging for developers to move forward on plans at the site. Xinyuan Real Estate will now be the next developer to try to repurpose the theatre.
Xinyuan Real Estate was one of the first Chinese real estate developers to enter the U.S. market. In September 2012, the company made its entry in the New York market by purchasing land at Kent Avenue and South 8th Street in Williamsburg. That project, known as the Oosten, is still under construction, and will contain over 200 units of luxury condos. The company has another project in Midtown Manhattan as well.
“We are very pleased to be developing our third major project in the New York residential real estate market,” said Yong Zhang, Xinyuan’s chairman in the press release. “The location for this project in downtown Flushing is ideally situated particularly as there is a shortage of inventory in the higher-end condominium segment. Given the location of this project, we expect it will be appealing to both local and foreign buyers and investors. We believe our new project will become a unique site in downtown Flushing and a successful project for our Company.”
In March 2015, Community Board 7 approved plans for development at RKO Keith’s, presented by architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Those plans include 269 condos along with amenities like a 24-hour doorman, gym, tenant lounge, a 305 space parking garage and a landscaped courtyard.