Savoy Theatre

710 Mattison Avenue,
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

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Showing 26 - 37 of 37 comments

MikeH on July 3, 2006 at 1:54 pm

I’m pretty certain that Walter Rosenberg was Walter Reade’s father.
Reade had his name legally changed. Reade, of course, developed the
Walter Reade theatre circuit of which the Savoy was one.

LuisV on July 3, 2006 at 7:53 am

So what happenned???????

teecee on March 24, 2006 at 4:04 pm

Real estate developer Hugh Kinmonth built the office space. Walter Rosenberg convinced him to build a ground floor extension off the lobby and into the alley for a 1500 seat vaudeville theater. In exchange, Rosenberg paid rent for his lobby access. The original lease was 40 years. The first show was on March 31, 1912. By 1942, Rosenberg owned the building.

source Asbury Park’s Glory Days by Helen-Chantal Pike (2005), page 87

teecee on October 29, 2005 at 6:55 am

The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), Oct 23, 2005 p002
ArtsCAP may call the Savoy home; Asbury landmark is in city’s central district <par>. (SPOTLIGHT)

A group of Asbury Park artists joined forces last winter to galvanize their efforts to protect and promote the arts within the city’s redevelopment district.

Now, just six months after incorporating, the Arts Coalition of Asbury Park has the chance to achieve its primary goal of securing a downtown building to use as the city’s cultural hub.

The owners of the Savoy Theater and the five-story Kinmonth Building that wraps around it have offered to sell the building if ArtsCAP can raise a $250,000 down payment immediately. The original deadline of Oct. 19 has been extended to mid-November. If the down payment is secured, the owners will give the group a year to negotiate the final price – likely to be in the $5 million range – and figure out the financing.

“This was exactly what we wanted from the beginning,” said Dawn Von Suskil, a muralist who is president of the nonprofit ArtsCAP. “Not only does it provide entertainment for people to come to for theater and dance and music, but it will also be an educational hub and a studio hub.”

It may seen like a pipe dream for a brand-new and penniless nonprofit, but arts consultant Louise Stevens believes the group will be successful. ArtsCAP also has the support of the county arts agency and the Asbury Park Urban Enterprise Zone, which are partners in the creation of a Cultural Arts District and Plan for the rapidly changing city.

The Asbury Park City Council also declared its support during a recent meeting, and it is looking at ways it might fund the effort, said Diane Raver, executive director of the Save the Savoy project.

The Savoy, a Walter Reade movie house built in 1911, will need extensive renovations – and somewhere between $15 and $25 million – to bring it back to life as an intimate 600-seat theater.

“It’s so perfect, you just want this hub to be there,” said Stevens about the building, which has five stories of usable office space surrounding the three-story “jewel-like” theater.

“There’s no question they are on high adrenaline, but that will pass. I think we can get past the $250,000 deadline, there will be the ability to pause and get out of the adrenaline mode and go forward in a more studied strategic approach.”

Stevens pointed to several critical factors working in ArtsCAP’s favor. While ArtsCAP is the lead organization, there is a critical mass of nonprofit dance, music theater and film groups – not to mention a vibrant community of individual artists – in Asbury Park who will benefit from the cultural center.

The building would house various performing arts groups, the Garden State Film Festival, and provide studios for artists and classrooms for arts education of all kinds.

“It could house so many arts groups that are currently in Asbury and desperately need space,” said Terri Thomas, director of community arts for the Monmouth County Arts Council, which is working with ArtsCAP.

Second, the effort has the backing, and guidance of the Monmouth County Arts Council which has been focused on the role of the arts in Asbury for more than a year. And finally, the project can be done in stages, allowing the costs to be spread out over many years.

“You could put a campaign like this together in chunks,” said Stevens, who first became involved in the county-wide arts plan that sparked the Asbury initiative. “The unique nature of this building, with 15,000-square feet of office space surrounding the Savoy, means you could turn these offices quite easily into arts organization offices, dance studios, sound recording studios, and then gradually do the work on the Savoy itself. ”

“You have a critical mass (of arts organizations) and you get the energy going and have the community see it, and you save (renovating) the theater for phase two,” Stevens said.

Stevens said the planning effort begun last year by the county arts council gives the project a firm foundation. Funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Mary Owen Borden Foundation, New Jersey Natural Gas and the Asbury Park Urban Enterprise Zone, the Asbury Park arts planning effort is invaluable.

David Miller, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, which is a major funder of the county arts council, said this foundation is vital for the project’s success.

“Failing to take the time to plan, to honestly test feasibility, has gotten people in way over their heads,” Miller said. “As a general rule, we urge good planning and caution.”

It’s a message ArtsCAP understands.

Stevens will convene a three-hour meeting Friday for ArtsCAP board members to discuss and adopt her feasibility report, said Raver, who noted that fundraising without such a report is very difficult.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel, but honing it, tailoring it for our needs,” added Von Suskil about the effort. “It’s going to be a huge challenge, but we have to take a shot at it. To not try would be a crime.”


<p>1. Michael Fornino, co-owner of the Savoy Theater, in the interior of the Mattison Avenue building. Below, a photo of the building in 1911.</p> <p>1. NOAH K. MURRAY/THE STAR-LEDGER</p>

Article CJ137839731

teecee on October 29, 2005 at 3:38 am

Excellent article and photos in the Star-Ledger dated 10/23/05, Section 4, page 2. The owner is willing to sell the theater to the Arts Colition of Asbury Park (ArtsCAP) if they can put down $250k by mid November. Estimated sell price is $5M; estimated to need $15-$25M in restoration.

Can’t find the text at, but as soon as it is posted I’ll put it here.

teecee on August 10, 2005 at 8:36 am

Scratch that last post. It is advertising the Savoy in Atlantic City, NJ (not listed on CT, yet)

MikeH on June 9, 2005 at 3:23 pm

I was assistant city manager for Walter Reade theatres in Asbury Park in 1965 or 1966. At that time the Reade Theatres were the Mayfair, St. James, Lyric, Paramount and Baronet. I was told that the Savoy was also a Reade Theatre but had been closed for some time.
All of the theatres in operation were on or near the Boardwalk. The Savoy, which was in an office building, was blocks from the boardwalk on the main drag.

teecee on May 31, 2005 at 1:07 pm

On May 2, 1924, Louise Brooks and the Denishawn Dance Company performed here.

jimmyt on February 16, 2005 at 11:37 am

The theater was originally a free standing building, and shops and offices were added on both sides and above enveloping the original structure. The marquee was removed in the 80’s, but the massive glass entry doors still exist. A redevelopment plan for downtown Asbury Park currently includes plans for a complete restoration of the Savoy.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 15, 2005 at 9:01 pm

Film Daily Yearbook’s 1941 and 1943 have a seating capacity of 1,033. The F.D.Y. 1951 gives a seating capacity of 873 with the address at 720 Mattison Ave.

teecee on February 15, 2005 at 7:46 pm

Interesting real estate ad from a few years ago: