A year after being sold for almost $7 million and six years after the final film was shown, the Ridgewood Theatre’s future is finally becoming clearer.
The Department of Buildings approved a plan exam filed by Bushburg Properties, the building’s owner, on July 7 that would allow for a five-story, mixed-use complex to be constructed behind and on top of the iconic structure.
The front of the former theater was given landmark status in 2010, legally preventing any alterations to it, so construction of the five-story structure will take place atop and behind the existing three-story building, according to zoning documents.
Plans call for over 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, with 50 apartments, totaling over 37,000 square feet, on the four floors above.
Plans for the future apartment building released last year called for 40 dwellings to be constructed, 10 fewer than the new plans.
The zoning documents on the DOB’s website shows the main entrance for the residential portion of the building being located on Madison Street, as opposed to the entrance being the landmarked Myrtle Avenue portion of the 98-year-old structure.
Bushburg Properties did not respond to requests for comment by press time, but according to reports, the company is still in the planning stages of the development and is working to finalize the building’s design.
Reports also state the former theater has not been leased yet.
The theater first opened in 1916 and last operated as a five-screen multiplex, but the venue closed in March 2008 after ticket sales slowed.
The building has remained vacant ever since.
In 2012, Ridgewood residents Bridgette Vidunas and Mercy Wong, a Community Board 5 member, formed the We Love the Ridgewood Theater group along with a handful of other area citizens.
With the support of CB 5 and other community activists, they desired to see the venue revitalized and reborn as a performing arts center.
However, that dream seems to have fallen by the wayside in favor of residential development.
Since the building was sold to Bushburg Properties last July for $6.95 million, We Love the Ridgewood Theater’s activity has dwindled, with its final social media postings coming last fall.
CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri and district manager Gary Giordano could not be reached for comment by press time.