Friday, April 24, 2015

4th Avenue Theater part of new mixed-use tower project

Yup, read all about it here. If you've already read the story, the Fang's (the husband and wife duo behind the proposal) and their company Peach Investments should sound familiar. About 15 years ago they proposed building a 20+ story tower on 5th Avenue in the empty lot next to Key Bank, right behind the 4th Avenue Theater. As goes with many proposals, the project fell through and nothing came of it. The proposal just reported by the Dispatch News a few hours ago today appears to share many of the same elements of the previous proposed highrise. Like the circa 2000 proposal, this new tower will be over 20 stories (28 to be exact). Additionally this proposal like its previous incarnation will also be mixed-use with office space, hotel, and residence (oh, and retail). But what's the major difference between today's proposal and the one from 15 years ago? Well in 2009 the Fang's bought the neighboring 4th Avenue Theater at a foreclosure auction for $1.6 million. In the time since then, they have kept mum about what their plans for the theater were. When the issue of the outdoor breezeway on theater property became an issue with regards to public misuse last year, a Peach Investments representative declined to comment when asked what he meant when saying they might "remove the issue" altogether. He went on to say he was advised by Peach not to discuss anything related to the 4th Avenue Theater. ...Needless to say, those kinds of words coming from the property owners was quite discomforting for us fans of the beloved theater.

And so with the purchase of the theater, this new proposal seeks to extend its footprint from 5th to 4th Avenue which means incorporating the 4th Avenue Theater and a neighboring property into the development. Though no specifics were cited in the article, it appears that elements of the theater's facade will be retained. I go by this conclusion simply because it is totally not unheard of for developers to cleverly retain a historical facade while replacing the rest of the building with a completely new development. The Hearst Tower in midtown Manhattan is one of the more high profile projects that come to my mind (the tower was built in 2004, while the base was built in 1928). Anyways Peach Investments is hoping to score tax breaks for their current proposal which means going before the Anchorage Assembly to do some convincing. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but we may have an answer soon. As for my thoughts -- well I'd like to see the project penciled out some more before I can come to a judgement. If done correctly, this could be a great project.