What's Next for the RKO Flushing Keith? Is the Place Toast?

Updated 18 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Inside the RKO
Inside the RKO
Chris Kellberg photo

Hope has come for the wasting RKO Keith in Flushing, NY, per the newest permit issued by the New York Landmark Commission. However, although the permit specifically disallows destruction, an interview in a NY newspaper suggests the developer is still set on razing the auditorium portion for luxury condos. A mini-documentary has appeared on You Tube. You can watch it here.

Chris Kellberg, a photographer , author and preservationist who visited Huntington's Keith Albee Performing Arts Center during the 2013 gala, interprets the permit limitations as a victory for those hoping that the full structure can be saved.

The preservationist stated in his latest Facebook posting on the sister of Huntington's Keith Albee that: "Liz Rhoades, Managing Editor of the Queens Chronicle characterized this as "preliminary work" for the concept undulating glass wall with unaffordable condos, when in reality the only thing approved is to clean up the mess left by developers and only because they were compelled to do so by the NYC Landmarks Commission."

What's Next for the RKO Flushing Keith? Is the Place Toast?

Based on the restrictions of the permit, his interpretation would appear to trump that of the Queens Chronicle. They quoted the developer as hoping to begin work on the 17 story auditorium condo replacement in 2015. The permit acknowledges the landmark status. It indicates no use change.

The deteriorated theater has been a struck in a demolition by neglect scenario since an unconstitutional commission stripped the landmark status from the auditorium portion. Eventually, the US Supreme Court remanded the case and the involved official committed suicide. Since then, no "angels" have come forth with renovation plans, only plans that destroy the building.

Kellberg wrote a book illustrating it with photos of the decay inside the RKO. His point --- to counter a massive press brainwash that has stated that the interior is totally destroyed and no rehabilitation is possible.

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/220242754654213/?fref=nf

http://www.blurb.com/b/4367551-the-rko-theatre-of-flushing-n-y

http://www.qchron.com/editions/north/preliminary-work-begins-at-keith-s/...

 

NYC Department of Buildings
Work Permit Data
Premises: 135-29 NORTHERN BOULEVARD QUEENS Filed At: 135-35 NORTHERN BLVD QUEENS
BIN: 4112123    Block: 4958    Lot: 48 Job Type: A3 - ALTERATION TYPE 3

CONCRETE WORK NOT AUTHORIZED - CONCRETE PLACEMENT, FORMWORK, STEEL REINFORCING NOT PERMITTED

Printable (PDF) version of this Permit
Job No: 420970346     Fee: STANDARD
Permit No: 420970346-01-AL Issued: 04/22/2014 Expires: 02/21/2015
Seq. No.: 01 Filing Date: 04/22/2014 INITIAL Status: ISSUED
Work: Proposed Job Start: 04/22/2014 Work Approved: 04/22/2014
ALTERATION TYPE 3 - GEN. CONSTR.
REMOVE FREE-STANDING WOOD FRAMING BETWEEN TICKET LOBBY AND VESTIBULE,A TEMPORARY
PLYWOOD OFFICE SHED AND RELATED DEBRIS, AND ALSO SEVERLY DETERIORATED SECTIONS
OF THE PLASTER CEILING OF THE GRAND FOYER AS LANDMARK APPROVAL. NO CHANGE IN
USE, EGRESS OR OCCUPANCY.
Use: COM - COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS - OLD CODE Landmark: YES Stories: 3
Review is requested under Building Code:   Prior-to-1968
Adding more than three stories:   No
Removing one or more stories:    No
Performing work in 50% or more of the area of the building:    No
Demolishing 50% or more of the area of the building:    No
Performing a vertical or horizontal enlargement adding more than 25% of the area of the building:    No
Mechanical equipment other than handheld devices to be used for demolition or removal of debris to be used:    No
Approved work includes concrete:    No
Concrete work has been completed:    No
Requesting concrete exclusion now:    No
Work includes 2,000 cubic yards or more of concrete:    No
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