UPDATE: Initial reports indicated that the theater would be torn down, but Ethan Geto, a spokesman for Hidrock Realty, insists this is incorrect. See the full update at the bottom of this post.
The Pavilion Theater, the nine-screen movie theater at the corner of Prospect Park and 15th Street in Brooklyn, will be completely renovated and replaced with a new operator. The Real Deal reports, "Hidrock Realty, a Herald Square-based firm that bought the iconic Art Deco property at 188 Prospect Park West for $16 million in 2006, is planning to build a 24-unit building on the site," according to a Department of Buildings permit application obtained by the website.
The application also reveals that Hidrock is planning "New plans call for nearly 46,000 square feet of residential space and 24 apartments. The building will also include roughly 8,000 square feet of commercial space. The median sales price for homes in Park Slope between January 15 and April 15 was roughly $1 million, according to Trulia, which is almost 64 percent higher than the median sales price in the rest of the borough."
Hidrock also bought the neighboring restaurant, the former Circles Cafe, and has been talking to architecture firms, even though the theater's lease was set to last through 2022. The firm Morris Adjmi Architects, whose projects include The Wythe Hotel, is listed as the architect of record on the DOB papers filed yesterday.
The theater was a beloved destination for Park Slope, Kensington and Windsor Terrace residents to see films, but it has gotten shabbier in recent years. Native New Yorker and Park Slope resident Jake Dobkin first gasped at the news, but then asked, "Where are you going to get bedbugs now?"
Update: Geto, the developer's spokesman, says the basic structure and exterior of the building will be preserved, but the interior will undergo heavy renovations. "The building that is there today will basically be the same configuration and structure," Geto tells us. "They're going to restore some of the historic features of the exterior and put in an addition next to it."
Geto stressed that the Pavilion theater as we know it today will close, to be replaced with something smaller and a bit more highbrow. "The movie theater that is there today will not be part of the new project," said Geto. "However, they are working diligently to have a new movie theater in the building. It's not going to be the one that is there now, which is frankly a little shopworn and infested. Their plan is to bring in a more modern theater, which will inevitably be smaller. It will hopefully be more in tune with neighborhood. The theater as it is now is not utilized to its full capacity even today."
The adjacent lot formerly occupied by Circles restaurant will be part of a new residential addition that will encompass both properties, to be six stories high total. (The Pavilion is currently five stories.) The addition will be set back from the street, but will share a facade with the Pavilion.
Geto stressed that the timeline is "still very much up in the air" and the project needs approval from the Landmarks Commission. The Pavilion is not a landmarked building, but it is part of the Park Slope historic district, so the project needs a "certificate of appropriateness" needs approval from the Landmarks Commission. If approved, Geto said the renovation could begin "in the fourth quarter of this year."
Additional reporting by John Del Signore.