The revamp of the Paramount Theatre will reestablish a loge level balcony, and include major aesthetic upgrades and improvements to the lighting and sound system.
The long-awaited renovation for Fort Greene's historic Paramount Theatre officially kicked off yesterday when Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined executives from Long Island University (LIU) and BSE Global, the group managing and operating the Barclays Center, in a groundbreaking ceremony.
"The refurbishment of the LIU Paramount Theater is a major milestone in the history of Long Island University," said LIU President Dr. Kimberly Cline. "It brings our commitment to the arts-and our role in the arts community to an entirely new level for our students, faculty and alumni, and solidifies our role as a major cultural driver in Brooklyn."
The renovation will revive the 90-year old venue by retaining and restoring many of its existing features while modernizing the space. The entrance will be moved back to the theatre's original location at the corner of Flatbush and Dekalb Avenue, a loge level balcony and box office will be reestablished, and updates will be made to the lighting, restrooms and sound systems, among many other aesthetic improvements. The renovation, which is expected to create 200 construction jobs, will be overseen by BSE Global.
"I am excited to take the next step with the renovation of this historic venue," said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global. "Paramount will offer a greater array of entertainment options for Brooklyn and provide employment opportunities for students and those in the surrounding area."
Since its opening in 1928, the Paramount hosted legendary performances by Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry; it was also the first theatre in the world to show talking motion pictures. In 1950, Long Island University purchased the Paramount and has since then used it as a multi-purpose athletic facility for its students, staff and guests, and as the home of the Brooklyn Blackbird basketball team.
The theatre is slated to reopen mid-2019 and will then have a capacity of up to 3,000 seats. BSE Global will be responsible for programming and managing the venue. While the theatre will focus on its music roots, it will also host a mix of family entertainment, comedy, sporting events, special events and private programs for LIU students. Additionally, the venue will provide a variety of opportunities for LIU Brooklyn students to gain hands-on industry experience, including internships, work-study programs, part-time jobs and more.
"There is no better place in the world to learn about the arts than Brooklyn, and there is no university that is more committed to combining great academics taught by world-class faculty, with experiential learning and hands-on opportunities for students," said Dr. Kline.