Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Renovation plan for LIU Paramount by Barclays team re-announced; revised capacity seems closer rivalry with Loew's Kings

Update 4/16/15 from the New York Times:
[LIU's] Dr. [Gale Stevens] Haynes declined to discuss the rent that is to be paid by the operating partners. She and [LIU's] Dr. [Kimberly] Cline emphasized that Mr. Ratner and Mr. Prokhorov have the deep pockets to do what needs to be done, that students would have access to the theater as an educational resource, and that students and faculty members would receive free or discounted tickets to events there.
There's no much new in the press release yesterday Storied Brooklyn Paramount to Make Comeback, subtitled "Paramount Events Center to Restore Legendary Theater to its Former Glory in Partnership with LIU Brooklyn," compared with the news Billboard broke in January regarding the plan spearheaded by Barclays Center principals to renovate Long Island University's Brooklyn Paramount Theare.

But the capacity announced--3,500 instead of the 1,500 earlier described in Billboard--suggests a closer rivalry with the recently reopened Loew's Kings Theatre. The latter has 3,200 seats, and is located in Flatbush, deeper into Brooklyn and, unlike the Paramount (near the DeKalb Avenue stop on the Q/B/R), a good walk from the subway. (That earlier figure was either an error or a feint; the Paramount's original capacity was 4,124 seats.)

The Loew's Kings Theatre is expected to host 200 to 250 events per year, while the LIU Brooklyn Paramount is aiming at "more than 120" annual events.  (Here's new coverage on News12 and CBS Local.)

Also new is the price tag attached, which is $50 million, said to be "completely funded" by the new Paramount Events Center, an offshoot of the Barclays team. That could also mean "completely funded" through cheap capital sources like EB-5 loans from immigrant investors seeking green cards.

Note that the renovation is said to take "24 months" but the building will re-open in 2018, which is more than two years from now. In January, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark told Billboard, in the publication's paraphrase, that "the venue is ready to host a show right now."

The press release
BROOKLYN (April 7, 2015) – Long Island University’s (LIU) Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, a legendary palace of cinema and music, will soon rock again. The storied venue will undergo a 24-month renovation and rejuvenation as Paramount Events Center (PEC) and LIU restore its former glory. PEC is headed by Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner and Onexim Sports and Entertainment, and all business operations are overseen by Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark.
Located at the Northeast corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues on the LIU Brooklyn campus, Brooklyn Paramount operated from 1928-1962 as a live performance venue and was among the first theaters in the world designed to show talking movies. The stunning Rococo style ceiling and wall trimmings that still remain served as a grand accompaniment to many celebrated performances by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Bing Crosby, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry. Brooklyn Paramount introduced the borough to jazz and an early home of Rock and Roll in the 1950s. The theater became part of LIU Brooklyn’s campus in 1962 and now serves as a multi-purpose space for students, staff and guests.
“In reintroducing the historic Brooklyn Paramount at LIU Brooklyn, PEC will provide its expertise in design, development, programming, marketing, and operations,” said Eric Krasnoff, Chairman of LIU's Board of Trustees. “By working with our partners, Bruce Ratner, Onexim Sports and Entertainment, and Brett Yormark, the Brooklyn Paramount and LIU will create a premier destination that enhances our commitment to arts and culture in the community.”

“For years, I have admired the beautiful shell that remains of Brooklyn Paramount at LIU and I am excited to restore the iconic venue to its rightful splendor,” said Bruce Ratner. “I have had a long association with LIU Brooklyn and am proud to expand that relationship by joining with Onexim Sports and Entertainment to revive the storied Brooklyn Paramount and make it a world-renowned theater once again.”
PEC is focusing on booking emerging talent for more than 120 annual events, which will feature music, comedy, boxing, and private programs for students. The venue will have a flexible seating configuration with a capacity of up to 3,500.
As part of the $50 million partnership between PEC and LIU, employment opportunities and internships at Brooklyn Paramount will be available to those at the university. LIU’s academic mission will be enhanced by the opportunity to gain hands-on industry experience across multiple disciplines, including among others, arts management, media arts, performing arts and marketing. Brooklyn Paramount will play host to academically focused programming and provide free or discounted tickets to students to select events.
“The renovation of Brooklyn Paramount is a major milestone in the history of LIU,” said Kimberly Cline, President of LIU. “It brings our commitment to the arts – and our role in the arts community – to an entirely new level for our students, faculty, and alumni, and solidifies our role as a major cultural driver in Brooklyn.”
The official FAQ
Q: What is The Brooklyn Paramount Theatre?
A: The Brooklyn Paramount Theatre (the Paramount), located at the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues in Brooklyn, operated from 1928-1962 as a live performance venue and was the first theater in the world designed to show talking movies. Performances at the Paramount included artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Bing Crosby, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry. The Paramount introduced the borough to jazz and was the early home of Rock n’ Roll in the 1950’s.
Q: What happened when the Paramount closed?
A: After closing its doors in 1962, the building became part of the LIU Brooklyn campus and now serves as a multi-purpose space for students, staff, and guests. The building retains much of the theater's original decorative detail, including a Rococo style ceiling.
Q: What is the plan to reopen the Paramount?
A: The Paramount will undergo a 24-month renovation and rejuvenation that will restore the historic theater to its former glory and provide exciting new services to the community and entertainment industry. The resurrected Paramount, which will be known as the LIU Paramount Theatre, will have capacity for 3,500 guests and create endless opportunities for LIU students, faculty and members of the Brooklyn community to experience live performances, take classes, and learn in this historic space.
Q: Who is leading this process?
A: The restoration will be led by Paramount Events Center (PEC) and LIU Brooklyn. PEC is led by Barclays Center developer and majority owner Bruce Ratner and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, and will work in conjunction with Onexim Sports & Entertainment USA on this project. Bruce Ratner’s development company, Forest City Ratner, is one of foremost developers, owners and operators of distinctive urban real estate in New York and has built its reputation on bringing lasting change to Downtown Brooklyn over the last 30 years. Recent Forest City Ratner development projects include Brooklyn Metrotech and the shopping mall at the intersection at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.
Q: What is the project timeline?
A: The actual construction of the building has not yet been officially announced. However, the new LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theater is expected to open in 2018.
Q: How much will the renovation cost and who is paying for it?
A: This is a $50 million dollar capital improvement project that will be completely funded by PEC.
Q: How will this affect the LIU Brooklyn community?
A: The LIU Paramount will create endless opportunities for the LIU Brooklyn community. LIU students will be given the opportunity to gain hands-on industry experience across multiple disciplines, including arts management, media arts, performing arts, marketing, and more. As part of this new relationship between LIU Brooklyn and the Barclay’s Center, educational opportunities in professional sports, real estate, business administration, and finance will be created and expanded upon. In addition, the LIU Paramount will host private programs and offer free or discounted tickets to students to select events, and a portion of all ticket sales will be provided to support student scholarships.
Q: What will happen to the programs that currently use the Paramount space?
A: Intramural programs and events that currently use the Paramount space will be moved to other facilities on campus, and will ultimately reside in a new space the campus plans to erect in 2017. The new space will be created in the Steinberg Health & Wellness Center.

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