Live Nation – Brooklyn Paramount Theater: Restored into Beautiful Masterpiece, Reshaping the New York Entertainment Market

Courtesy of Live Nation, Images by Evan Joseph

In the 1920s, the Brooklyn Paramount Theater stood as a beacon of artistic expression, hosting groundbreaking performances by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, The Supremes, and many others. This historic French Baroque revival theatre, nestled at the intersection of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues in downtown Brooklyn, has recently been meticulously restored and reopened as a landmark music venue by Live Nation Entertainment, rekindling the spirit of its illustrious past. 

The theater building has been used for various other purposes over the years, and most recently, Long Island University has actively used it as a gymnasium and classroom facility. However, the building retained much of the theater’s original decorative detail, and Schimenti was brought on as a partner to revive the 90-year-old venue by retaining and restoring its existing features while integrating modern amenities and technology to meet the needs of a high-end performance space. 

The 72,000-square-foot redevelopment was a one-of-a-kind build, involving the renovation of eight different levels, from the cellar-level offices and green rooms to the highest levels of the building, now home to mechanical and spotlight rooms. The main floor, a testament to the grandeur of the past, boasts a grandiose performance platform and seating areas, along with a grand foyer bar and other amenity spaces, promising a truly immersive experience for future event attendees and a renewed sense of vibrancy for the live entertainment community.   

With the building’s age and level of design detail, the restoration of this venue came with plenty of challenges. The existing structure pre-dated modern engineering, and the team needed to be prepared for surprises that could impact the schedule and budget. 

Our team has had extensive experience renovating historic buildings for modern uses, and to work on such an iconic project was a privilege to partner with Live Nation,” says Oliver Holland, Senior Director.

The successful renovation of this venue is a testament to our work in entertainment and hospitality construction. Most importantly, this project is well-positioned to serve as a cultural hub in downtown Brooklyn’s continued revitalization.
– Oliver Holland, Senior Director

The restoration of the theater’s original detailing, particularly the ceiling, was the most challenging part of the project. The intricately designed ceiling was constructed with plaster, and a specific focus was needed to ensure it was structurally stable enough to withstand the vibrations from the live music below. Special attention was given to this aspect of the renovation, and the team also worked with a lighting designer to illuminate the plaster dome, bringing a magical feeling to the performance space.  

Preparations for the ceiling restoration were almost as complicated as the restoration itself. It involved planning and installing an immense amount of scaffolding into the space to access the soaring ceiling. The unique cantilevered system allowed access to the two-tier dome in the main theater and grand hall. The expansive scaffolding had to be agile in nature and change to gain new access as the project evolved.   

While job site safety is always a priority, it became even more of a focus with scaffolding of this magnitude. The team held regular stand-down meetings and regularly communicated about safety during the work on this scaffolding. The project was completed incident-free.  

In addition to the detailed ceiling restoration, the design team studied the building’s original designs and other historical drawings to ensure other intricate details in the space would be restored. Extensive coordination was needed to complete the intricate finish work in the five bars, two lounges, balcony boxes, green rooms, bathrooms, and other spaces. While there is no longer a large fountain in the lobby, complete with goldfish, the space pays homage to the past while meeting modern technology needs and security standards. 

On the exterior of the building, a new comprehensive marquee was installed, inspired by the signage on the original structure. During the building’s many evolutions, the original marquee had been replaced with a drab, uninspiring overhang. The renovation project was completed in 69 weeks, and the Brooklyn Paramount Theater reopened its doors in March of 2024, again serving as a cultural hub for the neighborhood. 

This project cements Schimenti’s capabilities in the entertainment and hospitality markets and demonstrates the firm’s high level of skill, knowledge, and expertise on a project intended to bring people together for unforgettable experiences. While this theater is the first project of its kind for Schimenti, it’s certain that this well-designed and expertly constructed venue will not only offer great experiences for patrons but also contribute to the venue’s efficient operations and profitability.

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