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Ridgewood Theater could be concert venue

The Ridgewood Theater is being touted as a possible site for a concert venue, according to a source. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

The Ridgewood Theater’s current owner is marketing the landmarked building as the possible site of a concert venue, according to a source.

A spokesman for CPEX, a Brooklyn-based real estate firm working closely with the current owner, said that since the building is already configured as a theater, it would be good to reach out to event space and theater operators.

But he said the real estate firm would listen to all proposals permitted by the zoning.

“We have been marking the property for a little over a month and since then have had a lot of interest,” said the spokesman for the building, at 55-27 Myrtle Ave. “We have walked a few parties through the space and we have a few more walkthroughs over the next few weeks and we are waiting on letters of intent from a few people.”

Proponents of the Ridgewood Theater, shuttered since 2008, achieved a milestone in 2010 when the facade of the building and the marquee received landmark status, but the battle rages on over the interior. In 2010, rumors swirled that the ground level would be transformed into a supermarket, but that never came to fruition.

Theodore Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, said he thinks transforming the theater into a performance space would be a wonderful idea.

“We’re open to any viable construction idea that makes economic sense to the owner and is amendable to the community,” said Renz. “We are currently working with CPEX and elected officials to see of there is money to possibly do something like that.”

Renz said that two years ago an architect who came up with a plan to restore the theater said it would cost close to $25 million to renovate the auditorium — and the economic climate at the time made that level of cost unfeasible. He said he has not been in the building since then, so there is no telling what kind of shape it is in now.

“As far as the BID is concerned with this property, this is a prime location on a busy avenue,” he said. “It is currently an eyesore and it takes away from the property value of the rest of the shopping district.

“As far as properties in the area we are trying to develop, the theater is the highest priority on our list.”

The theater was originally opened in 1916 and used to be a showcase for silent films and vaudeville acts. It originally had a capacity of 2,500 people, but later became a 1,950-seat theater with five movie screens. The theater was designed by renowned architect Thomas Lamb.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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