Barclays Center Group Forges Long-Term Deal to Renovate LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre

Brooklyn Paramount in 2016
Courtesy Photo

Brooklyn Paramount Theater

The team behind Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the renovation of the Nassau Veterans Coliseum on Long Island has signed a long-term lease with LIU Brooklyn to renovate and operate the 2,800 capacity Long Island University Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. The 49-year deal expands on an alliance first announced in January of last year, and will jumpstart a renovation project for the venue under the auspices of Paramount Events Center (PEC).

PEC includes Onexim Sports and Entertainment, Bruce Ratner, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark. The project will resurrect the venue as an active entertainment space for the first time in more than half a century. The renovation will begin in 2017, with an opening slated for 2019. The venue first opened its doors in 1928 as an early Brooklyn home for jazz and later rock ‘n roll. 

Given its capacity, the PEC will focus on booking emerging talent and is projecting 120 events per year, including music, comedy, boxing, and private programs for LIU students. Original renovation plans drawn up last year have been revamped so that the venue will have a flexible seating configuration that will increase capacity from around 1,500 to up to 2,800. Developers are also contemplating building a lounge in the lower level.

Located at the Northeast corner of Flatbush and Dekalb Avenues on the LIU Brooklyn campus, Brooklyn Paramount operated from 1928-1962 as a live performance venue, hosting performances by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Bing Crosby, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry. After closing its doors, the theater became part of LIU Brooklyn’s campus, and now serves as a multi-purpose space for students, staff and guests.

“We are thrilled to have finalized this agreement with LIU Brooklyn, and are eagerly anticipating the start of renovation on the legendary concert hall,” says BS&E’s Yormark in a statement. “Brooklyn will have yet another place to enjoy a diverse line-up of events as we continue to expand the borough’s flourishing entertainment district."

As part of the agreement between PEC (which is controlled by Onexim and led by Yormark) and LIU, employment opportunities and internships at LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will be available to those at the university. LIU’s academic mission will be enhanced by the opportunity to gain hands-on industry experience across multiple disciplines, including among others, arts management, media arts, performing arts, and marketing. LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will provide free or discounted tickets to students for select events. 

“The University is proud to move forward with the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre’s renovation,” says Dr. Kimberly R. Cline, President of LIU. “LIU is a destination for the arts and the restoration of this iconic New York landmark will create transformational, high-impact educational and career opportunities for our students.”

Strategically, the Paramount is another run on the venue latter, with the Barclays group seeking to be involved with artists as they climb the venue ladder, starting with the Billboard Lounge at Barclays Center. With its flexible capaxity, the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre would be the next step, followed by the 4,500-seat Tidal Theater at Barclays Center, and eventually play the big room at Barclays Center. Beyond developing acts, the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will be booking acts at all stages on the career arc capable of  filling the 2,800-seat venue.

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