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Bumpkis commented about Loew's New Rochelle Theatre on Jul 2, 2016 at 5:52 am

Loews Theater project design includes replica of 1920s marquee Christopher J. Eberhart, 3:08 p.m. EDT June 3, 2016

City Historian Barbara Davis praised RXR Realty’s proposed plans for a 28-story, mixed-use development that includes a replica of the original 1920s marquee

NEW ROCHELLE – The proposed $120 million Loews Theater development would usher the city into what officials hope will be a new age of the downtown while paying tribute to its historic past.

The developer RXR Realty was in front of the planning board for the first time Wednesday night to discuss its plans to turn the defunct theater at 587-599 Main St. into a 28-story, mixed-use development with an accompanying black box theater.

Right now the property includes two buildings with frontages along Main Street and Huguenot Street. Seth Pinksy, vice president of RXR, said the new development will be one building with two entrances and a shared lobby.

The historic portion of the property is the facade of the two-story building on Main Street. That was once the entrance to the Loews Theater, which opened in the late 1920s.

City historian Barbara Davis said the theater anchored the downtown of “one of the most prominent cities in the country” during that time.

The facade survived a number of uses since the theater permanently shut its doors in the 1970s, including the failed nightclub, the Palladium, which closed about 15 years ago.

Plans call for the restoration of the original terracotta details and ornamentation of the facade. The current marquee, which is not the original, will be removed and replaced with a replica of the original 1929 marquee, Pinksy said. And none of the original materials or existing architectural elements will be removed.

That will be the entrance to the multipurpose performance space that city officials hope will be the new anchor to the social life of the city’s revitilized downtown.

Davis said she worked with the RXR Realty development team and said she was “pleasantly surprised and pleased” with the plans.

“They’re doing everything right,” Davis said. “I hope this is the signal for things to come because they’re doing everything the right way. If we’re going to have progress, we have to preserve where there’s good character.”

Davis called the buildings along Huguenot Street an example of “bad character.” Currently, it’s apartment buildings and a warehouse.

Pinsky said that the Huguenot Street building will be demolished. A 28-story building with 280 apartments, a 277-space parking garage and retail storefronts will be erected in its place. He said the units will mostly be studio and one-bedroom apartments with a few two-bedroom apartments.

Pinksy didn’t give a rent range but said it will be market value for the area, which he said is cheaper than rents in New York City.

The project could be approved as early next month. Pinksy said he hopes to break ground before the end of the year and be completed within 22 months.

“It’s been a great experience working with the city,” Pinsky said. “Our experience confirms our enthusiasm we had before we started this. The process has worked the way the city said it was going to work.”