Investors Who Bought Midway Theater Building Hint at Redevelopment

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on September 18, 2013 2:34pm 

 Midway Theater was built in Forest Hills in 1942.
Midway Theater was built in Forest Hills in 1942.
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QUEENS — The investors who snapped up the historic Midway Theater building recently for $20.5 million hinted that they might build on top of the existing space.

The group, which bought the two-story building at 108-22 Queens Blvd. and 71st Road from Federal Realty Investment Trust last week, suggested that it might exercise the air rights above the property.

“Every purchaser of real estate looks at potential use of a property at some point in time," said Eric Roth of Brick Realty Capital. "The property ... has approximately 65,000 square feet of development rights and maybe some time in the future we can utilize them.”

But he was quick to add that "we don’t have any plans to redevelop it right now.”

Roth, whose company bought the theater with other investors, including Lloyd Goldman of BLDG Management and Eastern Consolidated’s Brian Ezratty, as first reported by The Real Deal also said the group has no plans to replace the ground-floor tenant.

“They have a long-term lease,” Roth said about the movie house.

But the group will “try to maximize rents,” he added.

The Midway, which is not landmarked, was designed by renowned architect Thomas White Lamb, who built over 300 theaters. The building has typical Art Moderne features, including curving forms and long horizontal lines.

Opening as a single-screen 1,933-seat theater, it was converted to a nine-screen multiplex when United Artists took control of it in 1998.

Other tenants in the 48,400-square-foot building include Gloria Pizza, Ferrara’s Beauty School, Liberty Travel and popular Irish bar Banter.

“We think it’s a great location,” Roth said. “Forest Hills is a very strong area with a very strong customer base.”

He also said that “it’s very rare when you can buy a 90 foot-by-240 foot building along the best retail corridor in Queens.”

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