Breaking: Caped Preservation Crusader Offers to Buy the Boyd

historic boyd theatre philadelphia
Inga Saffron reports that “an anonymous donor has come forward and offered to purchase the theater on behalf of a preservation-minded non-profit.” The Boyd Theatre, on 19th and Chestnut, was on the verge of demolition — well, its art deco interior at the very least — as the Historical Commission plans to meet on Feb. 27th to consider further arguments in that direction. The building’s owner, LiveNation, claims that it’s simply too expensive to redevelop the building given its current condition.

Two things I’d like to note: 1. I’m sorry that LiveNation is having such money troubles. I can lend them about $20, if that would help. 2. The building (where I spent much of my childhood watching movies) would be a lot less of a shithole if this whole mess had been resolved several years ago.

Now LiveNation wants to sell the building to Neil Rodin for $4.5 million so it can be turned into Riverview on Chestnut Street, so to speak.

Howard B. Haas, who founded the Friends of the Boyd a decade ago to save the ornate movie palace, said Friday that a charitable foundation has provided a letter of intent stating its willingness to match the sales price offered by a developer…The advocacy director at the Preservation Alliance, Ben Leech, confirmed that the group had met with the donor, and that the offer was solid. “Howard really pulled a rabbit out of the hat,” he said.

Man, Howard has been pulling at those rabbit ears for years, against a lot of tough odds. We wish him good luck this time around.

11th-hour offer to buy Boyd Theater

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  • DTurner

    Great, but where is the money for the reno going to come from?

  • Pippy

    Exactly, isn’t this just more of the same. Someone buys it, plan doesn’t work, sits there as a blight falling apart, 10 years pass. Repeat. It needs more than a buyer, it needs a plan. It has owners now, buying/selling it is not the problem, a solid plan is the problem.

    • Philatonian

      Ditto. I’m all for saving it, but does the anonymous donor have an additional $4.5M to restore it? Does the donor even have a business plan? If it sits for another 10 years Haas could be faced with a worst-case scenario, not even being able to salvage the facade.

      • LOwens

        Not $4.5M, the Historical Commission hired RES who said the restoration could be around $40,000,0000. Haas’ Friends don’t want to believe it though. Haas himself said he would rather it sit for 10-15 more year empty than see the new theater go in. If this goes through he hopes to get private money to restore it, but you know when that doesn’t happen they will ask for city money. Neil Rodin is not asking for a single penny of state/city money.

        • x1an

          $40mm is a highly inflated figure designed to convince a court of the property owner’s ‘financial hardship.’ Almost every city in the country has a restored movie palace downtown. Some have done it with government funds, some have not. Look no further than the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City — partially restored and showing movies. They have made slow steady progress with a volunteer force for over a decade and are an amazing place to see movies and concerts. That theater was in much worse condition than the Boyd before some forward-thinking people showed up.