Alexander Olch is Constructing a New Movie Theater for the Arts on Lower Ludlow Street

Posted on: July 8th, 2015 at 4:58 am by
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It’s a dead zone of sorts; quite literally. Situated beside a Chinese funeral home, the backside of the vacant Loew’s Canal Street Theatre, scant lighting, and shuttered distributors, Ludlow Street just north of Canal is a relatively quiet nook unto itself. But not for long. In due course, a functioning movie theater will again return to this corner.

The empty one-story warehouse at 7-11 Ludlow only recently became available after a lenghty dormancy (it was previously a food distributor). For the last six months, readers have been whispering that Alexander Olch (of eponymous boutique fame on Orchard) was often seen milling about the premises. Questions abounded as to whether this blank box would become another store in line with his retail pedigree.

Not even close.

Planning (and execution) is currently underway to convert the 5,400 square-foot sparse space into a cinema arts house of sorts. We are told that the multi-level theater is intended to showcase independent films and the like, with the purported goal of maintaining what’s left of the artistic vibrancy of the neighborhood.

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The ambitious $1.4 million project began inside 7 Ludlow some three months ago already, and is steadily progressing off the radar. According to permits issued by the Department of Buildings, the new theater space – “Metrograph” – will sport a pair of screens, one of which includes balcony seating on a mezzanine level.

In addition, there will be a seven-foot vertical extension atop the structure, increasing the overall floor area to 8,853 square-feet.

Margulies Hoelzli Architecture is the architect of record for the Metrograph project.

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Photo: DOBIts location here on Ludlow is apt, nestled right behind the former Loew’s Canal Street Theatre. Both facilities are actually owned by VJHC Development Corp, an entity connected to the Abacus Federal Savings Bank, the private Chinese bank headquartered on the Lower East Side. The institution was mired in controversy three years ago after city prosecutors indicted nineteen employees on mortgage fraud. They were exonerated last month, though, according to the New York Times.

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