The Ziegfeld Theater, the iconic stand-alone movie house, will be closing in the next few weeks to make way for a ballroom that will open in 2017.
The Fisher Brothers, owners of the theater at 141 W. 54th St., did not renew the lease for the 47-year-old venue with Cablevision, according to the cable company. Instead, the owners signed a 20-year lease with Gotham Hall, which will rechristen the site as the Ziegfeld Ballroom in the fall of 2017, a Gotham Hall official said.
“We wish the owners of the Ziegfeld Theater the best of luck with the future of the establishment and with the new tenant that they have selected,” Cablevision said in a statement. Cablevision owns amNewYork.
Gotham Hall plans to transform the theater into a 10,000-square-foot ballroom.
B. Allan Kurtz, managing director for Gotham Hall, said his team is finalizing its design, which will be an art-deco-inspired style, and plans to have a large, columnless event hall that includes a mezzanine that can be divided for smaller occasions.
“There is going to be full renovations, both infrastructure as well as interior,” Kurtz said.
The ballroom will also offer “three floors of high-end event space for galas, corporate and social events, movie premieres and other special occasions,” according to the company. It will accommodate 1,200 people for receptions and up to 1,000 for seated events.
The Ziegfeld Theater has 1,131 seats and is the largest single-screen theater in the city. It has a 70-mm projector and was the site for many movie premieres.
Moviegoers at the midtown location Wednesday said they were saddened by the news. Sean Steyer, 45, a TV editor from the Upper East Side, already saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Denver but went to see it again here to replicate his childhood experience of seeing a “Star Wars” film on a larger-than-life screen.
“This is the last of the real big-screen theater experiences,” he said.(With Sheila Anne Feeney)