The saga of the now-shuttered, disco-ball Rite Aid continues.

A developer plans to partially demolish the former roller disco turned pharmacy, a two-story building at 723-725 Manhattan Ave., to make way for a five-story development that will include a daycare, retail space and 50 residential units, according to records from the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB).

Still outfitted with a disco ball from its past life as a roller rink, the former Rite Aid was most recently slated to become a Walgreens in March of 2020. The newest plan to convert the pharmacy into a mixed-use, residential building is yet another development in the building’s nearly 100-year history.

As of now, the owner, Double U Real Estate, has yet to get the clear from the DOB to begin full construction. The partial demolition would include removing the building’s above-ground structure, while preserving its foundation and cellar, according to the firm’s most recent application to the city agency.

“The applications related to this project currently are all in the ‘disapproved’ status, as they were found to be incomplete by DOB staff at the time of the most recently scheduled DOB plan exams,” said Andrew Rudansky, press secretary for the DOB, in an email to Greenpointers.

Constructed in 1921, the building at 723-725 Manhattan Ave. started out as a movie theater, according to Brownstoners. In 1979, it became a roller rink, and less than 10 years later, the rink became a Rite Aid, which decided to preserve the disco ball that continued to befuddle shoppers up until the pharmacy closed in late 2020.

Double U Real Estate has yet to comment to Greenpointers about their intentions to construct a new five-story development, including whether the disco ball—which made picking up prescriptions so glamorous in years past—will remain.

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  1. Have many great memories when it was a roller rink. Really hope they keep the disco ball and (if not I’d love to have it) and they can preserve this historic building since it’s over 100 years old.

  2. Can we petition to make it a historic landmark or at least petition for them to not put condos in? These developers are bent on ruining neighborhoods for their own financial gain and it’s awful.

  3. This building needs to be preserved! Since I was a little kid I loved seeing the disco ball and the remains of the old movie theater in the building. I wish they would just transform it back into a roller rink. Give the neighborhood something to do.

  4. Why can’t they just leave things alone. 50 residential units? Good news for Peter Pan. I’d rather see them expand. That building is an historic landmark. It was beautiful as a theater. I remember it. Greenpoint is no longer.

    1. Yup…it’s just not there any more, and it’s not coming back either! I used to love the Meserole too ! I would appreciate it even more now that I’m older.

  5. Last I was there, the projector room had a few excellent memories still up there. Used to walk out to the ball as well. A lot of things the community should hold on to.

  6. A large construction on our very narrow Manhattan Ave will be a horrible nightmare for the good people of Greenpoint. . Busses and trucks can hardly manuver up
    and down now. Oh but big realestate tycoons could care less about neighborhoods. They took the last of the old time neighborhoods (Greenpoint/Williamsburg) and ruined them.

  7. Greenpoint was never a bad place to live. Even during the turbulent times of NYC Greenpoint was a safe, clean, working class community. We had the Chopin Theater (Now a Starbucks) we had the Roller Palace (previously the Meserole theater). McCarren Park, Milton Street park/pool. Greenpoint needs to save a couple of their landmark buildings like this one. Make it into a Movie theater again.

    1. That would be so great! But with movies being so available to stream for practically nothing, I sadly doubt it would draw much attention.

  8. Is the author of this article even remotely familiar with the neighborhood which lends its name to the website? Obviously not if he has to depend on an article from Brownstoners for a historical background of the Meserole Theatre.

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