The latest from Inga Saffron’s live tweeting of the hardship committee hearing on the Boyd Theater:
Philly committee recommends demo of Boyd theater, last golden age movie house. #inq#
— Inga Saffron (@IngaSaffron) February 27, 2014
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.
It’s been a long time since anyone has called Chestnut Street hot. But the span from 19th Street to 22nd Street on Chestnut is poised to transform that side of Center City.
In just a couple of months Noche will become George Sabatino’s solo project, Aldine. That restaurant will serve as a gateway to the stretch. Also on the drawing board for the 1900 block is Hill Country Barbecue which would replace the recently vacated liquor store at 1913 Chestnut Street. On the other end of the block, Jane G’s sleek look welcomes pedestrians from 20th Street’s already booming stretch, that features Village Whiskey, Tinto, Capogiro and Shake Shack.
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.”
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 »
The new owners of the Boyd Theatre will present development plans before the Philadelphia Historical Commission on Tuesday, January 28th. According to PlanPhilly’s Ashley Hahn, they already put in a financial hardship application for the former movie palace, aka the Sameric at 19th and Chestnut — a customary move for developers who want to demolish a building:
In order to justify demolition based on financial hardship, the owners must show that sale of the property “is impracticable, that commercial rental cannot yield a reasonable rate of return, and that other potential uses are foreclosed.”