Residents of Brownsville, Brooklyn will soon witness the rebirth of their beloved Loews Pitkin Theater. POKO Partners, LLC will transform the neighborhood with an exciting adaptive re-use project that, with a new college preparatory charter school and modern shopping facilities, will bring smiles and laughter back to the grande dame of Pitkin Avenue.
Designed by Collingswood, NJ-based architecture firm, Kitchen & Associates, the renovation of the Loews Pitkin Theater will preserve architectural details, including the terra-cotta ornamentation, while providing light-filled spaces to support the new uses of the building. Modern energy efficient and eco-firendly elements will be included. The original ornately detailed neo-classical and Art-Deco themed cornices, pilasters, and niches that decorated the Theater will be restored to their original condition, and will serve as historic perspective for the new uses of the building. A completely new interior structure, built with state-of-the-art steel, concrete, and masonry systems, will be constructed within the existing shell to support the new building functions. New, high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems are part of an extensive program of green building features that will take this building to the forefront of 21st century efficient building technology.
“Kitchen & Associates is to be involved in this wonderful project. Its rare to have the opportunity to preserve a magnificent neighborhood landmark and, at the same time, create vital new resources that will catalyze the revitalization of the community, said Dan Garthe, Project Manager, Kitchen & Associates.
The Loews Pitkin Theater is exciting because it embodies POKOs core values of revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing communities through positive and responsible real estate development, said Ken Olson, President and CEO POKO Partners.
The History of Loews Pitkin Theater
Al Jolson had his last performance there; Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle and Humphrey Bogart were stars that once graced the stage. Loews Pitkin Theater evokes so much nostalgia that both men and women to this day write blogs about and share memoirs fondly recalling the opulence of the grand carved staircase, the koi pond in the lobby, the crystal chandeliers, and the dimly lit balconies under a domed ceiling depicting a cloudy, starry sky. The immense orchestra pit and grand organ reflect the majesty of architect Thomas Lambs most beautiful “atmospheric” theaters built in the New York.
After decades of being the cultural center of the community, the theater entered into a long period of decline and eventually closed in 1969. In the years ensuing, it suffered considerable interior damage and slowly became a neighborhood eyesore.
The Future of Loews Pitkin Theater
POKO Partners, LLC will bring new opportunity to the area as construction begins on the mixed-use project by providing much-needed jobs and additional educational opportunities to the area. At the epicenter of a once thriving shopping corridor, the new Loews Pitkin will offer modern shopping facilities with more than 70,000 sq. ft of prime retail space. Fulfilling the needs and desires of the community to find high quality educational opportunities, POKO Partners has teamed up with Ascend Learning to house a new state-of-the-art charter school in the upper 90,000 sq. ft. of the building. The school will serve 1,100 children in grades K-8.