Morning Headlines: Preservationist Howard Haas On the Boyd Theatre Verdict

The Boyd Theatre circa 1928. Photo credit: The Irvin R. Glazer Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia via Friends of the Boyd.

The Boyd Theatre circa 1928.
Photo credit: The Irvin R. Glazer Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia via Friends of the Boyd.

For a split second there it seemed as if the Boyd Theatre would get its happy ending, last minute hero and all. But to the dismay of its preservationist supporters, the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved all the “economic hardship” applications that makes its demolition all but guaranteed.

In an article published on PlanPhilly, an incredulous Friends of the Boyd (FoB) president Howard Haas notes how FoB’s opponents pushed the “rats, homeless, blight” argument and insisted on the rejuvenating effect iPic would have on the neighborhood. Yet even after FoB addressed these points, the Historical Commission sided with the more lucrative option.


From Haas's article:

However, the Historical Commission should not be choosing between competing economic plans. They should be safeguarding our historic buildings....The Historical Commission should not need to examine our business plans as to how we would use the building in the future as that's not their job. I was personally astonished by many of the questions & comments posed by Commission members but none was more perplexing than the implication that nonprofit organizations have no business saving or owning historic buildings!

The Boyd's owner, Live Nation, is now free to sell the property to local developer Neil Rodin who in turn has plans to work with iPic to install an eight-screen multiplex at the site. Part of this deal involves gutting the Boyd's Art Deco interior, while keeping it's facade. Meanwhile, Friends of the Boyd has plans to appeal the decision.

Opinion: Howard Haas' position on the Boyd Theatre decision [PlanPhilly]

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  • RichHeimlich

    It’s time to ask where all the money went for this FoB effort. Large sums were collected going back to at least 2004 and now, 10 years later, there’s nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, Mr. Haas was unable to answer the most basic questions being asked by sources I’ve spoken with — including members of FoB — about actions taken over the years. Who provided the alleged security he said was the biggest costs for the group? Where are the items he removed from a building he doesn’t own? Why did he try to sell those items? Will he return them to the owners? What will happen to the tens of thousands of dollars still residing in the bank?