This week's Crain's reports the former RKO Keith Theatre in Queens, whose lobby is landmarked, has been purchased by condo developers for $20 million. This deal, which means that the historic space will soon see an adaptive re-use, reminds us of neighborhood disagreements about the Victoria Theatre on 125th Street. Some have suggested that the city should not landmark architect Thomas Lamb's classic hall for fear that it would discourage or simply prevent future development of the space. Yet the RKO deal suggests otherwise. If a less distinguished building in Flushing merits landmark status and can attract commercial interest, perhaps there's hope for the state-owned Victoria yet.
Two recent opportunities have slipped through the Victoria's fingers. With the construction of Aloft in South Harlem, it is highly unlikely that a W Hotel, once targeting the Victoria, will plan to rival its sister hotel just blocks away. The future home of Harlem's jazz museum, also once interested in the theater's location, is now slated for the former Mart 125. Does anyone have information or thoughts about what's next for the Victoria? Read more about the Queen's RKO deal in the Crain's article: LINK. To see the interior of the Victoria, see our past post: LINK. Photo by Ulysses.