Real Estate, Sunnyside
Dec 14, 2017

New Movie Theater Coming to Sunnyside on Old Liberty Brass Building Site

A new 12-story, 145,000 square foot building is coming to Sunnyside and will be home to a new Regal Cinemas.

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My favorite part about this rendering is the flock of birds north of the building. Click to enlarge.

Over the past couple of years, the seemingly dormant location of 38-01 Queens Blvd has been active—at least, behind the scenes. This location was occupied by a big warehouse that was home the Liberty Brass Turning Company starting in 1950; they moved their operation to Westbury out in Nassau County, and sold their building for $12,070,000 in December 2015. A new, much larger, building will go up there and will contain, among other things, a Regal Movie Theater Multiplex.

It’s worth asking, “does Sunnyside really need a giant Regal when there’s a multiplex not far away in Astoria near the LIC border?” (Not to mention MOMI is nearby, too.) Well, Sunnyside lost their movie theater, Sunnyside Center Cinema, in January 2015. The place had mixed reviews but the price was right—about $7.50 admission most days except Tuesdays when it was $5. Complaints about the sticky floors and bedbugs did not do it any good. No doubt a shiny new movie theater will offer a more modern options with, of course, modern prices. It will also be very convenient to transit.

The Commercial Observer has a good summary of what’s going to happen with the new building that will be erected at 38-01 Queens Blvd.

  • The building will be called “The Sunnyside”
  • It will be 12 stories and 145,000 square feet
  • Regal Cinemas will occupy 38,000 square feet of the ground floor and the entire second floor
  • They have negotiated a 20-year lease
  • The theater will have luxury recliner seats
  • The number of screens is unknown at this time

From the artist rendering, it looks massive—towering over Queens Blvd and the 7 train, and looks completely out of character for the neighborhood as it is now. But that doesn’t mean that in the future it won’t stick out like a sore thumb. Developers are looking past LIC into Sunnyside where they anticipate plenty of building opportunities.

More about the rest of the building:

  • The developers will lease floors 3-12 on a first come/first served basis to medical and community facilities
  • There will be a 1,500 square foot retail space on the ground floor
  • There will be a rooftop space for tenants, outdoor terraces, bicycle storage, and a separate lobby for tenants
  • There will be off-street parking: 100 spaces in an underground garage
  • There will be an electric vehicle charging station
  • Projected completion of the building is spring 2019

As I mentioned at the start of this article, the warehouse at 38-01 Queens Blvd was home to the Liberty Brass Turning Company for close to 65 years. Before the company moved to Sunnyside (this location was also known as Long Island City then, and some still consider it to be LIC), they were located at the corner of Canal and Walker Street in Manhattan. One of my favorite tidbits about their history is this (NB: “Max” is founder Max Zuckerwise):

“Max was an innovator and successfully distributed a kit that enabled homeowners to convert their homes from gas lighting to electrical lighting in the late 1920’s. Additionally, he forsaw [sic] an end to prohibition and had the company manufacture thousands upon thousands of beer keg taps in 1933. Jack used to tell stories of folks coming to the factory and literally throwing money at him in an effort to purchase these taps so they could open a bar.”

The address of 38-01 Queens Blvd. is also associated with Rek-O-Kut, a prominent name in the world of record turntables, and made thousands of them for radio stations, recording studios, and of course, audiophiles. The company later moved to Corona, Queens and went out of business in 60s or 70s (Esoteric Sound owns the name now). The Corona address—38-19 108th Street—is still legit in the Department of Buildings database and the whole block is a big apartment complex, Corona Towers.

Permits were filed in January 2016 to demolish the Liberty Brass building.

So, how about you—are you looking forward to seeing this new building in Sunnyside/LIC? Is a multiplex movie theater the right way to go as the anchor client? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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