Preservation Alert

  • June 20, 2016

    Worcester, MA – Owner of former Paris Cinema wants to demolish building

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    From The Telegram: One of the buildings targeted for demolition by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority, as part of its Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan, could come down much sooner than envisioned.

    The owner of the former Paris Cinema, 66-70 Franklin St., has petitioned the Historical Commission for a waiver to the city’s demolition delay ordinance, which puts a one-year hold on tearing down historical buildings.

    In its application, Quincy-based Worcester Park Plaza LLC indicated that it wants to demolish the vacant 90-year-old, three-story brick and concrete building because of its “severe structural deterioration.”

    The building is said to have code violations, as well as health and safety issues.

    The Fire Department has placed an “X” sign on the front of the building, which has been closed since 2006, to warn firefighters that it is unsafe.

    Bolton & DiMartino Inc., local consulting structural engineers, said they have found the exterior brick of the building to be in poor condition and said it needs to be rebuilt at severely deteriorated areas because of a lack of maintenance for decades.

    It also found the interior of the building to be in poor condition, with significant deterioration from water infiltration and lack of maintenance.

    “Based on our limited review of the existing conditions, it is our professional opinion that the Paris Cinema is structurally compromised and presents safety concerns in its current condition,” wrote Christopher Tutlis, an engineer with the firm.

    “We recommend limiting access to the theater due to falling finishes, and concerns of the integrity of the floors, roof and stairs,” he added.

    As part of its application, the company indicated that one of the reasons it is seeking a demolition delay waiver is economic hardship.

    The Historical Commission is scheduled to take up the petition for a waiver at its meeting on June 30.

    Before then, representatives of the building owner are supposed to meet with staff from the city Division of Planning and Regulatory Services to provide additional information on the need for the waiver.

    Because the building is listed on the Massachusetts Cultural Resources Information System, it is subject to the demolition delay ordinance.

    The purpose of the ordinance is to delay demolition for up to 12 months so there could be additional time to explore alternative uses for a historic building or a new owner for it.

    The Historical Commission can waive the ordinance, however, if the owner is able to prove that a building’s demolition will not negatively impact the historical or architectural resources or the city, or that it would cause an undue economic hardship to keep the building up for another year.

    There are actually three buildings on the parcel at 66-70 Franklin St. – the former Paris Cinema and two brick buildings with frontage on Portland Street.

    While the movie theater portion of the building is three stories in height, the buildings with frontage on Portland Street are up to five stories tall. Those buildings will be left in place when the theater portion of the building is demolished.

  • May 10, 2016

    Newark, NJ – One Man’s Fight to Save the Paramount

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    From The Star-Ledger: Carmine Cicurillo has two plans to save Newark’s historic Paramount Theater.

    Plan A has him winning the lottery.

    “Then I’d refurbish it and build a penthouse on top, and live there like the ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ ” he said.

    Plan B is to get officials and developers to see what he sees: a majestic part of Newark’s glory days. A community gathering place that could again be a downtown entertainment anchor, if only people had his passion and belief — and the millions of dollars he doesn’t have.

    Cicurillo admits Plan A has a better chance.

    But it would have to be a hefty lottery, the Powerball or Mega Millions kind.

  • March 8, 2016

    Foreclosure Sale of Old Ocean Avenue Movie House Shocks Neighbors

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    J.K. Dineen reports in The San Francisco Chronicle: “Nearly four decades after it was converted from a grand movie palace into a Pentecostal church, drama has returned to the El Rey Theater on Ocean Avenue.

    Only this time the action isn’t on the silver screen but over the building itself.

    In December, the El Rey changed hands for the first time since 1977, selling in a trustee sale on the steps of City Hall for $1.06 million. The seller was the Stanford Federal Credit Union, which had foreclosed on the property after the church, now called A Place to Meet Jesus, defaulted on a loan. The buyer was a joint venture between Ricci Ventures and Greenpoint Land Co., both Marin investment groups.

    For residents in the surrounding neighborhoods of Ingleside Terraces, Mount Davidson Manor and Balboa Terrace — many of whom have long hoped the building would someday return to use as a community center or theater — the reaction has been a mix of disappointment and hope.

  • November 30, 2015

    Theatre Gems: Here is wonderful news from our friends at CJS Architects!

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    Buffalo Architecture Foundation (BAF) is pleased to announce Dirk Schneider, AIA, Partner at CJS Architects, as the recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award in Distinguished Service for his remarkable commitment to the historic Chautauqua Amphitheater.

  • October 16, 2015

    The State of Theatres in Boston – From the Boston Globe

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    The Colonial Theatre would be transformed into a dining hall and performance space under Emerson College’s plan. Shirley Lang writes, “As I sat in Emerson College’s Colonial Theatre on Sunday, it was hard for me to enjoy the hysterically funny musical “The Book of Mormon” without wondering whether this is the end of the Colonial as we know it.

    But it wasn’t just that. I got ticked thinking about what’s happening to the acclaimed Huntington Theatre Company, possibly put out on the street by Boston University’s decision to sell the drama group’s longtime home. Or that Citibank, in exiting the Massachusetts market, will end its multimillion-dollar sponsorship of the performing arts. Meanwhile, the Boston Lyric Opera announced last week that it will leave the Citi Shubert Theatre in search of a more affordable venue.

  • September 23, 2015

    The Theatre on Your Street: The Historic Huntridge Theatre in Las Vegas Will Not Get Renovation

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    The Historic Huntridge Theatre is Las Vegas will not get the renovation hoped for by Michael Cornthwaite, Joey Vanas and inspired Vegas residents. It was an ambitious idea that brought the community together. But a plan to buy and renovate the historic Huntridge Theater appears dead. Two years ago, Michael Cornthwaite and Joey Vanas ignited the imaginations of Las Vegas residents when they announced plans to renovate the 71-year-old Huntridge Theater on Charleston Boulevard at Maryland Parkway.

  • October 30, 2014

    Agawam cinema to reopen

    AGAWAM, MA — The Agawam Family Cinemas is set to reopen after six months of darkness due to the efforts of new Kimberly Wheeler. She still needs $10K more to revitalize the theatre and install new projection.

    Read more at WWLP and go to their Kickstarter page for more info on their campaign.

  • October 6, 2014

    Roselle Park friends team up to revitalize theatre

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    ROSELLE PARK, NJ — A lack of experience and necessary funds aren’t holding back Joe Shirley and Jared Pietz from following their dream of reopening the Park Theater. They’ve been hosting fundraisers and trying to get the neighborhood behind their campaign so they can reopen the theatre for film and live entertainment.

    Read more about how these two buddies in their early 20’s are leading the charge at NJ.com.

    (Thanks to joker for providing the photo.)

  • October 1, 2014

    Beloved Marin cinema could be torn down for housing

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    CORTE MADERA, CA — The 1969 shopping center cinema, the Century Cinema has been listed for sale and a developer is supposedly in the process of purchasing it to demolish it. The single-screen gem represents a style rarely seen in existing theaters and is a favorite of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, holding many important test screenings over the years.

    Read the full story in the Marin News.

    (Thanks to Kevin Tredway for providing the photo.)

  • August 18, 2014

    Time running out for the Hampton Arts

    WESTHAMPTON BEACH, NY — The Hampton Arts only has till the end of the month to reach its Kickstarter goal for a digital projector. The 1927 summer theatre needs to raise $125K to save its two screens.

    Read more in Newsday.