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:

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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.

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Morning Headlines: 84 Percent Endorse iPic’s Plan for the Boyd

Google Street view of the Boyd Theatre.

Yesterday, Philly mag conducted a poll that asked the question: “Is it time to tear down the Boyd?” A startling 84 percent of respondents said, “Yes, it’s time for a new beginning.”

But the actual decision-making entity, the Philadelphia Historical Commission, tabled the vote yesterday until Friday, February 14th.

According to the Inquirer, longtime champions for the Boyd’s conservation are livid and believe it was “a lack of patience and public will” that resulted in inadequate maintenance and lost preservation opportunities. Friends of the Boyd President Howard Haas pointed to similar situations that ended successfully, saying, “almost every major U.S. city has a restored downtown movie palace.”

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Is It Time to Tear Down the Boyd Theater?

boyd-theater-philadelphia-sameric-chestnut-street-megan-madeline-welch This is the old Boyd Theater on the 1900 block of Chestnut Street. The once-glorious Art Deco movie theater has been dormant since 2002 and is, we can only begin to imagine, home to a large colony of diseased rats.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Philadelphia Historical Commission is set to hold a hearing about a new plan to convert the old Boyd into a new movie palace of sorts, a modern multi-screen affair that would show big Hollywood blockbusters and sell lots of popcorn. Naturally, the Friends of the Boyd are against this, because they are against pretty much any plan to touch the property.

Here’s a scene from the packed hearing room on Tuesday: Read more »