Carpenter Theatre

600 E. Grace Street,
Richmond, VA 23219

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Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 11, 2005 at 8:54 am

Work on Richmond Performing Arts Center Halted by City
By Emily Quinn
15 Aug 2005

The city of Richmond, Virginia, has ordered that work stop on its new performing-arts center, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

City officials say that the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, the organization behind the center, has failed to get the necessary inspections required by state building codes, and that construction cannot continue until the permits are reapproved by the city.

In addition, city officials are concerned that the foundation doesn’t have enough funds to finish demolition of part of the Carpenter Center, and that interrupting the work could endanger the remainder of the historic theater. Bill Farrar, city spokesman, said that although the foundation claims to have renewed its demolition permit, the city did not agree to such an extension.

Brad Armstrong, president of the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, said that there is enough money, between the foundation’s currently raised funds and pledged funds, to cover the current demolition costs, including steps to protect the Carpenter Center.

This is not the first time the foundation and the city have disagreed over the project. Last April, the foundation revealed it would not make its fundraising deadline and asked the city to waive the deadline entirely. The city did, but in July, mayor L. Douglas Wilder said he would not release any more city funds for the project, which needed, in his estimation, to be scaled back.

The new center is intended to be a home for the Richmond Symphony and other groups.

ghamilton on November 8, 2005 at 1:27 am

Good article today in the local cage liner on the current condition of the theater and the problems with it.

ghamilton on November 4, 2005 at 6:16 am

THE PLOT THICKENS!!!Today’s Times-Dispatch has a lovely picture of the great house with the headline and story indicating that the city may “seize” the place and reopen it pronto w/o extensive “renovations”.Quotes from the usual suspects.

ERD on November 2, 2005 at 10:58 am

What a travesty if this magnificent theatre was demolished. A list of the name of all those who are involved to do this foul deed should be publicized and letters of protest sent to them.

Patsy on October 21, 2005 at 5:07 am

Chuck1231: Thanks for posting the ‘agilitynut’ photos this past September. This theatre certainly has a beautiful facade and is worth saving!

Patsy on October 21, 2005 at 5:05 am

ghamilton: Can the Times-Dispatch article be posted here? What is going on with this theatre which is an Eberson atmospheric!!!!!

Patsy on October 21, 2005 at 5:03 am

Life’s too short: What’s the latest with this Eberson/atmospheric theatre in Richmond VA? I agree… does the situation go from a 2 year renovation to a large scale demolition in what seems, overnight? Someone needs to sit down with the Mayor of Richmond!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 10, 2005 at 10:49 am

For those of us who are not in the know: what is the whole story? This sounds horrible. How the situation go from a two year renovation to large-scale demolition?

ghamilton on September 11, 2005 at 12:20 pm

The saga continues.Today’s Times-Dispatch has another fine article on the war over the Carpenter Center.This soap opera continues to descend into the depths of stupidity that has surprised even me,a total cynic.I had thought cooler heads would have risen to the top by now,but no,everyone in the loop are keeping the loop below the surface of the sewage lagoon,probably the big one right across the James from downtown-the one East of I-95.

loralei on September 4, 2005 at 4:50 am

I’ve just gotten the whole story on the fight to demolish the Carpenter Center. My daughter is ready to chain herself to the building!! I’ve never been in a more beautiful building than the Carpenter Center, and I’ve seen some very memorable shows there. It’s one of the rarest gems in Richmond. To have someone tear it down would be like taking part of Richmond’s soul.. and a piece of everyone that’s ever been inside those beautiful doors. I will truly be crushed on the day the Carpenter Center gets torn down.

JimRankin on August 24, 2005 at 5:08 am

Often in such cases, it is that the politicians secretly owe a debt to a large campaign contributor, and this land may have been the price of their donation agreed upon years ago. In such cases, nothing shy of a court order will stop them. After all, don’t our ‘loyal’ politicians have to find money to stay in power? So what is a beautiful landmark or two to them? After all, they always have huge egos and think that it is they themselves who are the real ‘landmarks’! Woe to the few movie palaces as remain: they are all possible ‘freebies’ to political hangers-on who give enough under the table.

ghamilton on August 24, 2005 at 2:36 am

Article in the Times-Dispatch today shows the current state of the bloody battle.It’s going to get a lot uglier.

ghamilton on August 20, 2005 at 11:10 am

The fight just gets uglier.I am quite disturbed by how much of the original theater is suppoed to be demolished.Mayor Doug has thrown a lot of wrenches in the gears,but that may be a good thing.Someone should look at reality.How can so much of a listed property be destroyed?The egos in this fight are so transperent and self serving.The good and honorable mayor may even want some of the city’s mis spent $ back.WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!

RobertR on July 19, 2005 at 12:30 pm

There are pictures here
View link

ghamilton on June 27, 2005 at 12:59 pm

It is sadly inronic that say much of the old retail core of downtown Richmond,the great department store hulks ,are going and gone for this arts center boondogle.Anyone familiar with the horror that is politics in the City of Richmond,knows there is big trouble in Little China.The “Arts Center"has become a political football between several forces.Mayor Wilder,in his patented,butt-headed way has tried to interject sanity into that zoo.The inmates of the zoo are saying "no way Jose”.Hopefully the great theater will not be hurt by the over-reaching of some and the infighting by others.

lhardesty on June 27, 2005 at 12:07 pm

When I was a teenager, my boyfriend took me to the Lowe’s Theater in downtown Richmond. It was a beautiful theater. As I descended the staircase from the Mezzanine, I felt like a princess surrounded by plush carpet, dark velvet and gold trimmed drapes. The lovely pinkish, subdued lighting made me feel like a star on the screen. This was in the early 1960’s. Remembering the vibrant Wurlitzer played by (I think) Eddie Weaver still brings a smile to my face. What a grand time. I was born and raised in Richmond and moved to the beautiful Shenandoah valley 30 years ago. I attended a performance at the Carpenter Center several years ago and I am so pleased that steps are being made to preserve this beautiful landmark. I remember well going to the S & W Cafeteria just up the street and shopping at The May Company, LaVogue, and Thalhimers. What a great time in my life. Wonderful memories!!!!!

PGlenat on June 8, 2005 at 4:15 pm

Loew’s maintained a presence in Canada as well, with theatres in Montreal and Toronto. The Winter Garden and Elgin(Loew’s Yonge) theatres in Toronto were Loew’s theatres and have the distinction of being rare ‘stacked’ theatres. The Winter Garden is some seven storeys above the street on top of the Elgin. They were completely restored several years ago and are now under the ownership of the Province of Ontario. I don’t believe there are (or were) any Loew’s theatres elsewhere in Canada, except possibly Vancouver.

Patsy on June 8, 2005 at 9:54 am

Many theatres had a Loew’s connection, it seems.

Patsy on June 8, 2005 at 7:21 am

The color photo of this theatre at the top of this link is so beautiful and the folks of Richmond are very fortunate to have this theatre in their midst.

teecee on June 8, 2005 at 4:56 am

Basile Baumann Prost & Associates, Inc. (BBP Associates) lists this theater renovation as one of their projects. They are a real estate development advisory firm.

BeltwayBrian on May 24, 2005 at 12:01 pm

WOW! I cannot wait…this will help me get over the fact that I can’t jot down to the Louisville Palace anytime I want to! This sucker’s only 90 minutes away…and in terms of Washington DC traffic that’s like a trip to the grocery store. I will keep an eye on this one!!!

Patsy on March 31, 2005 at 9:07 am

Always enjoy seeing an Eberson/atmospheric theatre as the featured CT Theatre! Hope to visit Richmond someday and check this one out!

Patsy on March 11, 2005 at 7:59 pm

Was this theatre once called the Virginia Center as I’m trying to find at atmospheric theatre by that name in Virginia?

Patsy on March 2, 2005 at 7:02 pm

Just watched Food Nation with Bobby Flay and he was in Richmond VA. He told us about some great restaurants there, but we know there are 2 great theatres there, too…..thanks to CT.