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L: Photo via, R: Rendering by Jeffrey Kamen Architect via Promont NYC's Instagram L: Photo via, R: Rendering by Jeffrey Kamen Architect via Promont NYC's Instagram
A site with rich history is in the process of turning into an 80-unit mixed-use rental in Borough Park.

Universal Theater opened its doors at 4515 New Utrecht Avenue on October 9th, 1927, a day the Daily Eagle called "one of the most disorderly first nights ever witness in Brooklyn" as more than 25,000 people attempted to get inside the 3,000-seat theater. Elaborately designed by architect John Eberson, the theater was made to be a replica of an extravagant Italian garden under a night sky – New York first "atmospheric theater." It was decorated with fountains, and a painted gold and blue dome that twinkling stars and other atmospheric effects got projected onto.
Pre-demolition in 2012
View of the balcony level
Photos courtesy of After the Final Curtain
Less than a year after its opening, it was bought by the Loew’s Corporation and renamed Loew’s 46th Street Theatre. It continued to operate as that until 1970, where it became a concert venue going by the name of Bananafish Garden and the 46th Street Rock Palace, where famous bands like The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, The Bee Gees, and Steely Dan all performed.

Noise complaints from the local community forced it to shut down in 1973, and it was operating as a furniture store (with many of its features still intact) until recently. Permits were filed by owner David Khan, president of 4515 Utrecht Realty Corp., in 2013 to convert the 5-story structure into an 80-unit mixed-use rental. While the building wasn't completely demolished, it's interior was fully stripped.
Google street view from 2014
Permits call for 12,339 square feet of commercial space, 5,975 square feet for a commercial facility, and 57,903 square feet of residential space. That means each apartment will average around 700 square feet. Amenities for 4515 New Utrecht Ave will include 40 parking spaces and a common roof deck.
Promont NYC premiered the modern but unimaginative tri-color design by Soho-based architect Jeffrey Kamen on their Instagram yesterday. But here's the thing; this kind of design doesn't exactly fit into the Southern Brooklyn neighborhood, which is dominated by the Hasidic Jewish community. If anything, the area has been largely untouched by modern architecture, with many of their storefronts still displaying graphics and lettering from the 1950s or even earlier. Lets just hope interiors will give a nod to this site's rich past.

Another Instagram post from Promont NYC shows facade work is currently being done.

Additional Info About the Building

Content Specialist Sandra Herrera Sandra Herrera is a writer, editor, and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY.