WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — An Uptown politician is opposing efforts to landmark the historic United Palace Theater — saying it's unfair to single out only this site for protections and not others in the neighborhood.
The Loew’s 175th Street Theater, better known as the United Palace, got the green light this week from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to get prioritized for landmark designation.
But Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez isn't on board with the decision, saying the "sole designation" of the theater and not other sites — like the Coliseum Theater on 181st Street and the Wadsworth Avenue Baptist Church on 184th Street — "would be a disservice to the historic nature of these buildings that would otherwise be put in danger," a spokesman said.
"We want to see efforts to preserve the other historic structures in our community," added Rodriguez, who kicked off his re-election campaign at the United Palace in 2013, in a statement.
Residents wanted the Coliseum Theater to be converted into an art space in 2012, before a developer bought the property in the hope of redeveloping it into a 70,000-square-foot shopping hub last year.
The United Palace was among the hundreds of buildings previously backlogged by the LPC, many of which have been on its calendar for 20 years or more, officials said.
The theater, located at 4140 Broadway between 175th and 176th streets, was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb and built approximately 85 years ago.
It’s “exemplary in its style,” LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said during the public hearing. “It is just very prominent."
Srinivasan went on to say that the owners of the building were “incredibly respectful to the building,” although they haven’t supported the designation.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer agreed with the LPC chair and celebrated the decision, calling the theater one of the “gems across the city deserving protection.”
The theater and all of the other sites that received prioritization this week will be brought back for a vote by the end of the year.