Coney Island

Retail space at Coney Island’s Shore Theater priced at $75 per square foot

Eye on Real Estate: What will become of its historic movie auditorium?

August 24, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Shore Theater is locked up tight, but preliminary plans have been sketched out for a hotel and retail space. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Share this:

What’s the deal with the Shore Theater?

Will Pyotr Yadgarov, the new owner of the long-vacant Coney Island landmark, turn its historic auditorium into an entertainment venue or not?

The fact that the vacant neo-Renaissance Revival movie theater on the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues is a city landmark will not keep the auditorium from being torn down or stripped of its historic details if that’s what the developer decides.

For most landmarked properties, including the Shore Theater, this designation means the building’s exterior — not its interior — is protected from demolition. And exterior — not interior — alterations require the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Renderings of redevelopment plans posted on brokerage firm Commercial Acquisitions Realty’s website depict the Shore, whose address is 1301 Surf Ave., as a hotel with a swimming pool on the roof.

The firm is marketing 3,500 square feet of retail space on the property’s first floor.

We asked a Commercial Acquisitions Realty broker whether or not the Shore Theater’s planned hotel makeover will include the renovation and adaptive reuse of the theater auditorium as an entertainment facility. His answer was vague.

“This is all preliminary. It’s just a concept and a thought we are trying to bring to reality,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“We keep the community in mind and want to do the right thing for them,” the broker said.

As for the ground-floor retail space, the asking rent is $75 per square foot, he told us. And Commercial Acquisitions Realty is looking for “triple-A tenants” to fill it.

“We reached out to national tenants,”  he said. “Summers tend to be slow.

“We’re waiting to hear back from fast-food chains and coffee shops.”

Horace Bullard had planned a hotel and casino

We reached out to Yadgarov to ask about the fate of the Shore Theater’s auditorium. He has not responded yet.

Last winter, a rep for the Shore Theater’s new owner said it would be turned into an entertainment venue, Sheepshead Bites and other publications reported. That was months before the hotel renderings surfaced, though.

As the Eagle previously reported, city Finance Department records indicate that an LLC with Yadgarov as a member paid $14 million for the Shore Theater. The deal closed in late December.

The developer, whose company is called Pye Properties, has other real estate holdings in Coney Island.

The seller of the Shore Theater was a company headed by Jasmine Bullard, daughter of the late Horace Bullard.

He was a real estate investor who bought numerous Coney Island properties in the 1970s and 1980s. He wanted to turn the Shore Theater, which he purchased in 1979, into a hotel and casino.

Real estate-obsessed Brooklynites recall that Horace Bullard was the owner of the Thunderbolt roller coaster when the Giuliani Administration illegally demolished it in 2000.

Al Jolson and Jerry Lewis performed there

But more about the Shore Theater.

The outside of the building had a distinctive vertical red-and-yellow neon sign that spelled out the word “SHORE.” The sign was damaged by Superstorm Sandy and deemed too damaged to be repaired. It was not replaced.

Prominent theater architects Reilly & Hall designed the building, which was constructed in 1925.

For four decades, it served as a Loew’s movie theater. Its stage was used for vaudeville; Al Jolson and Jerry Lewis performed there.

In the theater’s waning years, after Loew’s left, porn films were shown.

Inside the theater, there’s a ceiling with a dome that is 150 feet in diameter. Aquatic decorative motifs depicting dancing mermaids and Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, were intact when Coney Island historian Charles Denson took photos there in 2006.

The theater is in the back part of the property, which has frontage on Stillwell Avenue but not Surf Avenue.

According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 2010 designation report about the Shore Theater, the front part of the property, which has façades on both Surf and Stillwell avenues, was constructed as an office building for businesses in the theater industry.


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment