Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Permits filed to demolish former theater turned grocery at 100 Avenue A


[Bobby Williams]

The city OK'd a demolition permit yesterday for 98-100 Avenue A, which housed East Village Farms until Feb. 7, 2012.

Developer Ben Shaoul purchased the former theater turned market last month for $15.5 million, according to public records. (While the name of Shaoul, president of Magnum Real Estate Group, isn't listed on the records... his name appears as the owner of the property on the asbestos abatement flyers that went up in early June. Magnum's name is also on the demolition permit.)

Nothing is on file yet with the DOB regarding a new building for the address here between East Sixth Street and East Seventh Street. However, a listing for the retail spaces that we noted last month provides an idea of what Shaoul and company have in mind ... a large retail space with 40 residential units above...



Last year, the previous landlord — Suh, Yon, Pak Associates, Inc. — proposed to keep the store on the first and second floor, and then add a third and fourth floor for residential use. For whatever reason, the landlord never got this plan approved. Subsequent plans on file with the DOB showed a proposed addition to the back of the building ... and increasing the size of the store at the first and second floors.

As we've previously posted, the Avenue A Theatre opened here in 1926. It was operated by RKO, followed by Loew's. It closed in 1959. The various markets here used the theater space for storage.

[1949, via Cinema Treasures]

On Jan. 12, 2012, we posted photos of the not-so-secret theater inside here from photographer Kevin Shea Adams. (You can read his post and see more photos here.)

[Kevin Shea Adams]

[Kevin Shea Adams]

Several residents were hopeful that a developer with the ways and means and desire to preserve would restore the building for use as a theater. But that's too much to ask for.

In any event, you likely won't be seeing less of this out front ...

[Bobby Williams]

Previously on EV Grieve:
A little bit of Hollywood on Avenue A

East Village Farms is closing; renovations coming to 100 Avenue A

Inside the abandoned theater at East Village Farms on Avenue A

Reader reports: Village Farms closing Jan. 31; building will be demolished

Asbestos abatement continues at 98 Avenue A, Ben Shaoul's latest East Village trophy

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh no.... That's going to be a Woooo Hoooo Central. Just like walking past "Bloom 62," I can vividly imagine what kind of douchebags are going to live there.

Brian Van said...

Ben Shaoul is a modern urban carpetbagger. Is that new building going to contain anything usable for the existing neighborhood? Or is it just one more wedge to push out people who can't afford $3,400/mo studio apartments? Replacing a grocery store with a Bank of America and a Duane Reade... classy move, maybe people can get used to switching their diets from fresh vegetables to NyQuil and cat food.

Anonymous said...

This just makes me sad. Oh I wish I had won the lottery a few weeks ago... To restore this movie theater was on my wish list.

Is the Sidewalk Cafe building apart of the deal? It looks like in the proposed drawing that their storefront is empty.

I wish DOB, Ben Shaoul and his crones lived in our neighborhood to be aware of how much they are destroying the lovely architecture fabric of our neighborhood. This bland architecture is ugly to the point of being an eye sore. I can't believe someone want to demolish such a stately theater with rich history with a good conscience.

Is there a Superman of Architecture & Historic Preservation that can wisk in and save this building from Shaoul's wrecking ball?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:23, maybe we could all lock hands and form a human chain around the building? Aw, f*ck it.

John M said...

We walk around less and less. It's too sad. And does everything they put up have to be so damn ugly?

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone here. Why can't they save this and renovate it? Or at least incorporate it into the building? Its crazy that modern has to mean dull, faceless glass boxes.

Glenn Belverio said...

Sidewalk Cafe is looking rather peculiar in that architectural rendering...

Also, it's not just the "woo-hoos" that are moving into those buildings. It's easy to miss them because they are not living in the buildings, but a lot of these apartments are being bought by Brits, other Euros and people from the United Arab Emirates....they buy the apartments and hardly ever use them.

Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike Shaoul and his reputation, in this case I have to say development is the right way to go. It was just an empty hulk of a building with a market on the street level. There's no chance the theater would have been restored and utilized again (who would have the $$$ for that?) and there's no facade to speak of. I'll get bashed for this but yeah, I'm not too upset over this one.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad the theater couldn't be saved. We could use a theater for concerts and plays in the neighborhood. In the right hands, it could make money and benefit the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

We don't need another theatre, or another bodega, we need more housing. And let's put our dollars into making sure the landmarked Village East on 2nd & 12th can afford to stay in business.

Wax said...

That's really sad.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I hoped that a clever architect could save the theater and make this property into something viable/mixed use.

More price-everyone-out housing for transients and condo-hoppers?

aveaisessex said...

Yeah this is a tough one.

The reality is that the neighborhood continues to change and become richer. So as much as I would love a theater or music venue or anything other than another luxury condo, the reality is that the free market dictates something glass and steel and doorman-y go there. If not that, then someone needs to subsidize the alternative.

Not to mention: you think the community board will allow a large public space there? As much as I would love a sweet Bowery Presents venue there, it would never happen. Condos may be the scourge to the hood's charm, but they are relatively quiet...

Anonymous said...

How can you pine for something that didn't exist in your lifetime? It's cool that it was a theatre and all but that was a whole nother age. Hoping for some kind of visionary developer to restore it to a former glory which may or may not be have been, is hoping for a deus ex-machina. Let's face it that space has been inefficiently used for decades. Plus it has become unsightly. Nobody likes that Shaoul guy and nobody likes cookie cutter condos but to me this falls under the natural evolution of things.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.24: I'm more upset about demolition and complete rebuilding than I'd be about one of the previous plans which was to renovate and add floors. A renovation of "Bloom 62" on 5th and B was a NIGHTMARE for the neighborhood, especially people in adjacent buildings, as has been documented by Grieve. Now a total demolition of this building and new construction; I can only imagine how much more messy and disruptive this will be.

And why are some people so upset about CitiBike taking up a couple of parking spaces here and there, but don't mind buildings for only the rich taking up a ton of sidewalk and parking space with their construction trash? (Yeah, "Bloom 62", I'm looking at you...) Ave A between 6th and 7th is a busy pedestrian area, with ordinary people going to and from the park. Closing this off for construction for months will be a major pain in the a**.

Anonymous said...

The problem in that rendering is that they left off the giant Calvin Klein crotch shot billboard that will go on the side of the building.

Anonymous said...

My theory is that Ben Shaoul holds a personal grudge against the EV and wants to destroy as much of it as he can. He's obviously got a "thing" against diverse mixed use neighborhoods that have a strong and historical identity as reflected in their buildings and public spaces--but then, so does the city administration. Well, maybe when people realize they can have Ohio cheaper in Ohio (rather than paying NYC prices for Ohio), everyone will fucking wise up.

Anonymous said...

No one's as excited as the people who live across the street, who already see workers on the rooftops Saturday mornings bright n early, and envision the destruction to come in the next year.

Sammy said...

It's unfortunate that it has to be a faceless box of luxury housing lacking any character. Losing old buildings is bad enough but inevitable sometimes. The tragedy is that the blandness of the new construction is a slap in the face of the notion that there was anything special left about the neighborhood.

chris flash said...

Anonymous 11:03 said: "We don't need another theatre, or another bodega, we need more housing...."

"Housing" for WHOM???? Just WHO do you think this latest Ben Shaoul monstrosity will be housing? MORE of the same carpetbagging scum who are destroying the neighborhood one building at a time.

We need to look into WHERE Shaoul gets his money....

Anonymous said...

Noise is already non-stop there, good times for the neighbors.

Ben Shaoul said...

The property will be developed into 50 rental apartments of which 20% will be designated as affordable. should you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me directly at bshaoul@magnumreg.com