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Flatbush church at home in old Rialto Theatre seeks new tenant for historic building

The old Rialto Theatre in Flatbush.
NYC Department of Records

A century-old Flatbush building, which once housed a movie palace, is looking for a new tenant to bring a renewed lease on life to the joint.

The building, 1085 Flatbush Ave., now houses the Cortelyou Road Church of God, which owns the building and wants to rent out most of the 15,000-square-foot space and keep a sliver for itself.

For more than half a century, the building was home to the Rialto Theatre, from 1916 to 1976. Since then, it has been the location of various houses of worship.

The building now houses the Cortelyou Road Church of God.File photo

The building has 1,400 seats in its main area, and still boasts a screen at the back. Designed by architect R. Thomas Short and developed by impresario A.H. Schwartz of Century Circuit Theaters, the Rialto opened during the silent era of motion pictures, and had its own orchestra and organist to accompany the flicks.

The era was also the golden age of grand movie palaces in Brooklyn, and specifically in Flatbush: the Rialto competed with the Kings Theatre just two blocks north on Flatbush, the Kenmore Theatre on Church Avenue just west of Flatbush, the Flatbush Theatre on Church east of Flatbush, the Astor Theatre at the corner of Snyder, and the Albemarle Theatre at the corner of the street with the same name.

The Rialto Theatre, as seen in a 1930s postcard.File photo

All of those theaters have long since closed and been taken over by other establishments, except for the Kings, which reopened as a live performance venue in 2015 after sitting vacant since closing in 1977.

The church has gotten inquiries from theater operators and from religious organizations about taking over the space, a representative of commercial realtor TerraCRG told Brooklyn Paper.

Asking rent is $25,000 per month.

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