Several older buildings throughout New York City will soon see new life. Here is a look at a few projects that are underway.
Waldorf Astoria to Boast 350 Hotel Rooms
The storied Waldorf Astoria, which was once home to 1,400 rooms, will soon have just 350. Led by Aecom Tishman, the renovation of the hotel will ultimately result in a hotel-condo hybrid. The decrease in the number of rooms has been a bone of contention between the developer and the hotel’s operator, with Hilton expressing concerns that having fewer rooms will weaken the chain of Waldorf-branded properties that it currently operates. Nonetheless, construction is moving forward with the rest of the hotel being home to 350 condos. Other features will include a renovated ballroom and public-facing spaces. The team behind the conversion received approval for its vision from the Landmarks Preservation Commission this spring.
Sunshine Cinema in Lower East Side to be Demolished
The historic Sunshine Cinema in the Lower East Side will soon be demolished. This past spring, the building was purchased by developers East End Capital and K Property Group for $31.5 million. Located on East Houston Street, the property was originally going to be redeveloped into a mixed-use development offering retail and upstairs office space. More recently, plans have changed and the developers have filed a demolition application with the city’s Department of Buildings. Per the application, the developers wish to tear down the 108-year-old building in order to replace it with an office building boating retail space at the base.
While Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema didn’t open until 2001, the building itself has a much longer history. In the past it has served as a vaudeville theater as well as a screenings venue. After struggling for years with rising rents, the Landmarks Theater group proposed converting the independent cinema house into a full dining serve theater in 2012. The local community board rejected this idea. The current lease on the building is scheduled to expire in 2018.
Paul Robeson Theatre to Begin New Life
Located in Fort Greene, the 153-year-old Paul Robeson Theatre has been many things throughout its lifetime. At one point or another, the building has served as a church, a synagogue and a performance space. Now, developer Oren Evenhar is looking for a new use for the lovely space.
First built in 1864 as a Universalist church, the eye-catching building later became one of the borough’s first synagogues. It then went on to serve as a Catholic parish for 90 years before becoming transformed into a theater in 1980. For the next 30 years, the theater was dedicated to producing plays for the African-American community.
Evenhar and his firm Pine Builders have not yet worked out what they plan to do with the building. Before it can take on its new life, however, there are some repairs that need to be made. In addition to peeling paint and rusted lighting equipment, the building also suffers from a leak in the ceiling. Nonetheless, Evenhar sees the building as eventually offering some sort of community use, such as serving as a professional performance hall, a school or even a medical facility.