Preservation Alert

  • February 15, 2010

    Binghamton, NY theater named to endangered list

    BINGHAMTON, NY — The Stone Opera House, which opened in 1892 and which operated as a movie house from 1930 to 1978 as the Riviera Theatre, has been named to the annual list of most endangered historic resources by the Preservation League of New York State. The inclusion of the theater on the list will permit the League to work with local officials and other agencies in the effort to restore and reuse the theater.

    As movie theater crowds diminished with the growing popularity of television, Binghamton’s theaters closed, many to be torn down. The Stone Opera House shut its doors in 1978. While the ground floor commercial space has been occupied sporadically, the theater has been largely vacant for three decades.

    “Seven to Save designation has a proven record of mobilizing community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “Through this program, we provide targeted support to seven of New York’s most important and endangered historic resources, which are threatened by insensitive, ineffective or insufficient public policies, general neglect, and, in some cases, outright demolition.”

    The Preservation League will help municipal and non-profit leaders seek an appropriate and sustainable reuse for the Stone Opera House, which could boost Binghamton’s ongoing downtown revitalization efforts.

    There is more at Newschannel 34.

  • February 1, 2010

    Battle continues to save Beach Theatre

    CAPE MAY, NJ — Preservationists have won a round to save the Beach Theatre. After a lengthy meeting, the Historic Preservation Commission voted against issuing an appropriateness certificate that would have allowed the theater’s auditorium to be demolished. The theater’s owner, Frank Theatres, is vowing to take the fight to demolish the theater to the Superior Court; a foundation that wants to buy and preserve the theater claims the asking price set by the Franks is is far above the property’s market value.

    Frank said he was prepared to go beyond the zoning board to Superior Court if the zoning board does not overturn HPC’s decision. He said when he purchased the Beach Theatre in 1986, there were no restrictions.

    Frank said to have restrictions imposed at a later date was tantamount to a taking of his property and a taking of his rights. He said a theater was not the highest and best use of that property.

    “If the goal was to have a movie theater, they have lost that possibility in today’s forum with our company,” said Frank. He asked what would the Beach Theatre look like five to 10 years from now. “If the theater remains like it is and is closed, what did you do as a member of the board?” Frank asked. “You’re left an antiquated and old building.”

    Read more in the Cape May County Herald.

  • January 26, 2010

    Fairmont’s days may be numbered

    FAIRMONT, WV — Time may be running out for the Fairmont Theater on Adams Street, as the whole block of which the theater is a part is being eyed as the site for a new state office building. Now closed, the 1940s-era theater last operated as a triplex.

    The plan would be to tear down the entire block and build a brand new office.

    This location would bring about 250 state jobs back into downtown, it would clean up some of the vacant and run-down buildings in the city, and it would promote use of the parking garage, county commissioners said. However, officials are still in negotiations with some of the property owners on that block.

    There’s more in the State Journal.

  • January 22, 2010

    Historic Montauk Theatre could be destroyed

    PASSAIC, NJ — The historic Montauk Theater seems to be set to be torn down. In most recent years it was a xxx house, and although extremly dirty, was said to be intact.

    A number of years ago a man who runs movie theatres in Northern New Jersey, offered to buy it from the city. The idea was to keep the balcony area as a divided movie theatre, and turn the downstairs into a performing arts center, with a theatre pipe organ possibly controlled by the main console of the former Roxy Theatre console.

    This whole idea came to nothing, as the city of Passaic said it needed the building for retail space. If one were to look around the city, there is more than enough empty retail space, so this is ridiculous. It has been reported that a huge stained glass window with the letter M survives. The theatre once had a theatre organ by the local firm of Griffith Beach. Passaic has never been the same since they took out the railroad from downtown. I will update when new info is available.

    Eric Fahner

  • January 15, 2010

    Save the Fairfax Theater

    Thanks to Haeyong Moon for the video.

    For more information about the future of the Fairfax Theater, check out this recent Los Angeles Times article.

  • December 29, 2009

    Vancouver’s Pantages in serious danger of demolition

    VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA — After years of planning and advocacy, the Pantages Theatre Arts Society is giving up on its efforts to save the 1907 Pantages Theatre (the first built by Alexander Pantages), citing the lack of support from government agencies. Heritage Vancouver is urging a letter writing campaign to encourage the City Council to take action as no developer proposal to-date will preserve the theater.

    A “For Sale” sign has gone up on the Pantages. This is the signal that the current owner has been unable to come to an agreement with the city to restore the theatre after three years of planning and negotiations. Given the nature of Vancouver’s real estate climate and lack of heritage protection, if sold for development, this will likely mean the demolition of the Pantages theatre.

    More information in Heritage Vancouver.

  • November 25, 2009

    Historic Ridgewood Theatre Received Landmark Hearing, But No Vote Taken – Call LPC!

    RIDGEWOOD, NY — In March 2009, the shuttered Ridgewood Theatre (55-27 Myrtle Ave) was granted a public hearing by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, to determine its eligibility as a NYC Individual Landmak (facade): Patrons, preservation & cultural groups, and residents citywide were delighted. Testimony was diverse and positive, and also included written testimony from the Thomas A. Lamb, the great-grandson of America’s foremost theater architect, Thomas W. Lamb, who designed the Ridgewood Theatre in 1916 in the Classical Revival style. The Ridgewood Theatre was boasted as “America’s longest continuously operating first-run theater” when it closed suddenly in March 2008. Shortly after, Michael Perlman, Queens VP of the Four Borough Preservation Alliance Corp, organized the Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre group, serving as Chairman.

  • November 19, 2009

    Edenton’s Taylor Twn Cinema in financial jeopardy

    EDENTON, NC — Built in 1925 as the Taylor Theater, the Taylor Twin has hit rough financial waters and is in danger of closing. Some citizens are already rallying to save the South Broad Street landmark.

    Another good friend has been Frank Jones, co-owner of the Soda Shoppe. Jones has known Krochmal since he (Jones) managed the McDonald’s franchise here and the two have participated in joint ventures before.

    Wanting to help his old friend, Jones developed a plan to donate 20 percent of the proceeds from all meals eaten at the Soda Shoppe during specially designated hours on Fridays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 2 p.m.

    “My brother Steve and I know Bob is struggling, as many of us downtown are in this tough economy, and we wanted to do whatever we could to help him,” Jones said.

    Read the story in the Daily Advance.

  • November 18, 2009

    Requesting Intervention on behalf of The SENATOR Theatre


    Dear Friends,

    We are volunteers at The Senator Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland and members of the advocacy group, Friends of The Senator [FOTS].

    The Senator was recently acquired through foreclosure by Baltimore City, and the responsibility of determining the future of the irreplaceable historic theatre has been delegated to the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), a public/private non-profit that primarily serves as the city’s real estate development agency. The BDC issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) to identify a potential buyer or lessee for The Senator Theatre, without prior professional consultation with experts in the field of historic theatre preservation. The RFP submissions are due on Friday November 20th.

  • October 21, 2009

    Capitola Theater may face demolition soon

    CAPITOLA, CA — The 1948 Capitola Theater may soon be torn down. The theater has been closed since 2006. The current owner has applied for a demolition permit, claiming the building is mold-infested and too expensive to seismic retrofit. The city will hold a hearing to determine if the building has any historic significance.

    “Some people might think it is historic,” said Mayor Bob Begun. “I don’t.”

    The property is owned by a Barry Swenson Builder partnership. The current assessment is for $2.9 million, down from the purchase price of $3.75 million listed by the county assessor.

    Additional details in the San Jose Mercury News.