Amato Opera House May Go Residential With Added Penthouse

amato2Paul Wagtouicz
amato1Paul Wagtouicz

After sitting vacant for nearly four years, the Amato Opera House may finally be getting an encore.

Real-estate heavyweight Steven Croman, a member of the LLC that bought the iconic building in 2009, has filed an application to convert the jewel-box theater at 319 Bowery into a commercial and residential building, with a penthouse addition above the fourth floor.

The change of use would heighten the building by 10 feet and add three residential units, according to an application for a construction permit filed last week and currently being reviewed by the department of buildings.

The Amato Opera, a onetime fixture of the Bowery art scene, closed in 2009 after Anthony Amato sold it for $3.7 million amidst a heated inner-family legal dispute. It had served as “The Smallest Grand Opera in the World” for more than 60 years. After Mr. Amato died at 91 in December of 2011, The Local got an extraordinary look inside the opera house, then on sale for $6.5 million. At the time, prospective buyers had considered the space for a one-family home, a nightclub, restaurant or bar.

The building’s property manager was not immediately available for comment.

Update | 6:30 p.m. Lauren Muss, the broker of 319 Bowery and Senior Vice President at Corcoran, confirmed that “the owner is keeping” the building.