Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse Gets $47.5M in Financing for Reboot

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The historic Jacob Riis Park bathhouse, on the western end of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, received funding to make a $50 million reboot possible.

CBSK Developers, Brooklyn Bazaar and Aulder Capital landed a $47.5 million in financing for the project that will gussy up the structure, built in 1932, while building out spaces for retailers and a rooftop bar for the summertime destination, the partners announced Tuesday. The funding was first reported by Crain’s New York Business.

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The financing includes a $32.5 million construction loan from Procida Funding and a $15 million historic tax credit equity investment from Foss & Company.

“Our vision for this project centers on preserving the storied past of the Jacob Riis Park bathhouse while revitalizing it to serve today’s beachgoers, and this closing milestone brings us one step closer to achieving that goal,” CBSK’s Scott Shnay said in a statement. “The building has been an iconic landmark on the Queens waterfront for decades, and our restoration plan for the bathhouse will transform it into a modern beachfront hub, complete with a full range of amenities for the public.”

The bathhouse sits within the Jacob Riis Park National Historic District. It closed permanently in the 1990s after about $20 million was spent on asbestos removal and other projects, according to The Architect’s Newspaper.

In 2017, the National Park Service (NPS)launched a request for proposals (RFP) to bring the facility back to life, ultimately choosing Brooklyn Bazaar — which recently reopened the McCarren Park food court in Brooklyn — and its partners in support of its plan to fully restore the façade, windows and turrets that the building is known for. The joint venture signed a 60-year lease with NPS in October 2022.

“This building sits on one of the most treasured stretches of beachfront in the city, and our vision will realize its full potential by adding new uses, from exciting dining options to beach concessions, all while preserving the historic elements of the structure,” Brooklyn Bazaar co-founders Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein said in a joint statement.

The bathhouse originally had two restaurants, a cafeteria and a number of concession stands. The partners are planning for not only the rooftop restaurant, but also ground-floor eateries, an outdoor bar facing the sand and places for vendors to sell beach supplies. The developers will also be able to capitalize on a 28-room hotel within the bathhouse, a catering hall and event spaces. All of this will be within the existing structure and will require no additional buildings.

Architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle was tapped for the redesign, and the project will be overseen by the New York’s State Historic Preservation Office.

Construction will start in the spring, and a phased reopening of the bathhouse is slated for some point in 2024, according to the partners.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.