How You Can Help Design Kings Theatre

Let’s get used to calling it Kings Theatre, because that’s what it is now. Even though it might not look like it from the outside, the renovation process of the former Loew’s Kings Theatre is well underway–at least, the bureaucratic bits are–and project representatives presented their progress at a Community Board 14 committee meeting last night. We’ll be lucky if it’s done by the end of 2014, but if all goes as planned, we’ll have quite a lovely theater when it does open.

David Anderson of ACE Theatrical Group and Gary Martinez of Martinez and Johnson Architecture laid out some of the details:

Yes, it’s just Kings Theatre. Loew’s is not involved, which might be for the best, because it seems nobody could pronounce that anyway.

Programming remains the same. As has been previously announced, they plan to host about 200 to 250 productions a year: concerts, theatrical productions, dance and performing arts presentations, and musical and comedy shows, as well as “community events that will resonate with Brooklyn’s impressive diversity.”

The theater is still a mess. Vacant since 1978, it’s perhaps in better shape than you would imagine, but there are leaks that are still contributing water damage. They hope to expedite the process of getting construction crews in there, but even with that, it might not be until the end of this year.

Virtually every bit needs restoration. Not a huge surprise. They’re consulting with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to achieve tax credits, and they’ll apply to be listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. They sound committed to restoring the theater to the way it looked when it opened in 1929.

Seriously–there’s a meticulous attention to detail. They’ve had experts from EverGreene in to analyze paint samples to figure out the original colors. They’re enlisting specialists to figure out reasonable substitutes for the original chandeliers, fixtures, seats, tapestries, etc.

And you might be able to help with that. Many of you grew up here, and/or had relatives who did. Start combing through old photos and other memorabilia (playbills, etc), which they can use to determine original details, like what the carpet looked like. We will let you know where to send that once they’re collecting things.

Like what you’ve heard? The members of CB14 who were present at the meeting did, and provided it gets support at the regular monthly meeting this Monday, they will draft a letter saying so. This will be presented to the Public Design Commission later this month, and could use additional public support. Let them know here in the comments how you feel about this theater being brought back to its original state, and we will forward the post to them so they can show the comments to the Commission.

As they continue the tax credit processes, additional studies, and other preparations required by government and construction authorities, the timeline for the project obviously extends. They’re hopeful that the construction will begin by the end of 2012, and within a few years, we’ll be welcoming back a neglected gem.

“In a perfect world,” said Anderson, “we’ll be opening with a show for the holidays in 2014.”