The New Coney Island - Brooklyn's Times Square by the Sea

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brooklyn's Paramount Theatre is coming back!

Billboard excerpt -

Barclays Center affiliate Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment has formed an alliance with Long Island University, in which BS&E will bring entertainment back to the historic Brooklyn Paramount Theatre.

"This collaboration will bring the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre back to life," says LIU president Kimberly R. Cline, "creating endless opportunities for LIU and our neighbors."

Adds Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, "We felt that this would be the next step in the evolution of our partnership with LIU, that we should work collaboratively and start bringing some great content there, not only for the student body, but also for the public."

The move will resurrect the 1,500-capacity venue, which opened in 1928, as an active entertainment venue for the first time in more than half a century, with the BS&E team focusing on booking emerging talent in a variety of areas, including music, comedy, and boxing. Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark tells Billboard that the Paramount represents an opportunity in the growing BS&E portfolio, and will begin hosting shows as soon as this quarter.

The Paramount deal is the latest move by this increasingly aggressive group, led by Yormark, which opened the $1 billion, 19,000-capacity Barclays Center in September of 2012 as the home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. By the end of 2013, Barclays Center was the third highest-grossing arena in the world for concerts and events, reporting $83.5 million to Billboard Boxscore. Post-honeymoon period, Barclays Center has remained among the busiest arenas in the world, reporting $60 million in concerts and events for the same period this year. Bruce Ratner is majority owner of Barclays Center and executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, one of the partners that won the bid to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum, a $250 million project that will begin when the NHL's Islanders leave Nassau for Brooklyn following the current hockey season.

"As we diversify into an entertainment company -- Barclays Center being the first step, we've got Nassau, and other announcements coming -- being in the venue space is important to us," Yormark tells Billboard, "as is identifying complimentary spaces. What's going on in Brooklyn is incredible, a downtown entertainment district with restaurants and smaller theaters."

The Brooklyn Paramount has a strong live music pedigree. Originally built as a movie palace, the venue was the site of renowned jazz shows of the 1930s and '40s, hosting such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. Pioneering DJ Alan Freed, and later TV personality Clay Cole, staged a number of rock 'n roll shows there, including Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bobby Vinton, Brenda Lee, and Jackie Wilson. LIU purchased the facility in 1960 for basketball, which it used until the school opened a new gym in 2005, leaving the Paramount mostly dark.

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