Save the Boyd!

posted by Michael Zoldessy on March 2, 2007 at 4:50 am

As you know, Friends of the Boyd are very concerned because Live Nation has put the Boyd up for sale. We don’t want Center City’s last movie palace to be sold to another real estate developer who might seek to demolish it!

We’ve mentioned previously that Live Nation is also considering turning the Boyd into a House of Blues. Friends of the Boyd were happy with the restoration plans drawn up to restore the Boyd into a venue for Touring Broadway musicals, and that Live Nation was happy to accommodate our film series. However, if the theater becomes a House of Blues, Live Nation has not specified whether the Boyd’s original, historic Art Deco features would be fully restored, and if a film series would be accommodated. Friends of the Boyd have continued to offer to fundraise for the restoration.

PLEASE TELEPHONE City Hall at 215-686-1776 and ask to be connected to Mayor Street’s office.

The Mayor’s fax is 215-686-2180 if you would like to write a letter.

We suggest you start the conversation by identifying yourself by name, occupation, and city of

Ask the Mayor’s office to please request that the owner of Center City’s last movie palace, Live
Nation NOT sell the historic Boyd Theatre (which is at 1908 Chestnut Street) to another real
estate developer who might demolish it! Instead, please suggest that Live Nation ought to
work with Friends of the Boyd to identify a buyer who would restore the theater.

Also, please ask his office to request that if Live Nation turns the Boyd into a House of Blues,
that the theater be fully restored to its original Art Deco design.

Feel free to emphasize that a restored, reopened Boyd Theatre will bring jobs, tourists,
entertainment, and vitality to Philadelphia. You may wish to suggest that a film series be
included along with the live entertainment needed to make the theater viable. Almost every US
city has restored a movie palace, so if Philadelphia wants to be great, we should restore the

Of course, please ask your contacts to call the Mayor’s office if they support our cause.

Howard B. Haas
The Weekly Update
Friends of the Boyd.

Theaters in this post

Comments (12)

HowardBHaas on March 3, 2007 at 4:01 am

Today’s Philadelphia Daily News reports Dan Gross | LiveNation dumping Sameric?LIVENATION has “launched a process to divest” the majority of its North American theatrical assets, the company announced in the fourth-quarter financial report released on Thursday.

The report includes a Philadelphia theater among those to be sold. That would be the Sameric at 19th and Chestnut streets.

The theater, built as the Boyd in 1928, is Center City’s last great movie palace and was closed in May 2002. Clear Channel, of which LiveNation is a subsidiary, bought the theater in January 2005 from the Goldenberg Group, and said it would turn the Sameric into a multi-use entertainment house. We reported in September that LiveNation had ceased construction and renovations on the Art Deco theater, and said its sale was “possible.”

Howard B. Haas, chairman of Friends of the Boyd, a nonprofit group working to preserve the theater, is upset that the theater could again face demolition if sold to an owner who is not interested in operating it as a live venue.

Haas said his group will do whatever it can to ensure that the theater is not demolished.

“We are looking at all options for the property and a sale is one possibility,” LiveNation spokesman John Vlautintold us in an e-mail. “But nothing definitive has been decided at this point about the Boyd,” he wrote.

LiveNation is also selling its Broadway Across America business, which programs touring theater shows. Industry speculation is that LiveNation is looking to sell the venues as a package.

“We cannot predict when, or if, any transaction will occur with respect to these properties,” the company’s economic report said.

Last year the Pearl Group bought three small auditoriums attached to the Boyd from the Goldenberg Group and is seeking retail or restaurant tenants.

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