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LIC Theater Group Looking for New Home as Building is Set for Development

 The Chain Theatre at 21-28 45th Rd.
The Chain Theatre at 21-28 45th Rd.
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LONG ISLAND CITY — The show must go on — somewhere else.

A local theater group is looking to find a new home in the neighborhood as its building is being sold to a developer that wants to build condos or rental apartments at the site.

Variations Theatre Group, which runs The Chain Theatre at 21-28 45th Rd., will be forced to close the space in February to make way for the new development after three years in the building, according to the group's artistic director Kirk Gostkowski.

"I think we really built up a community here," he said. "I would really like to stay here in Long Island City, if possible. I don't know if the real estate market will allow that."

The group has been putting on plays and theater festivals for the last six years, and opened The Chain in 2012 to serve as their home base, using the black box theater for their own productions as well as renting it out to other groups.

Gostkowski said they have a "great relationship" with their landlord and had previously planned to expand their existing site to create a bigger theater, but are now searching for a whole new space after learning about the sale of the building.

The owner of the property, Andrew Calev, confirmed that a sale was in the works, but declined to name the buyer since the deal has yet to close.

He did say that the new owners "are not going to keep the property as it is" and are planning to build apartments or condos at the site.

Meanwhile, Gostkowski said Variations is searching for a new space, though Long Island City's rapidly rising rents are making it difficult to find somewhere in the area they can afford.

They're planning to launch a fundraiser over the next week, and are also accepting donations through their website.

"We still have a full line-up through January, so we’ll be announcing things as we go," he said, saying he's confident the group will land on its feet. "There's a lot more we want to do."