Latest Boyd proposal linked to hotel development

posted by RickB on September 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm

PHILADELPHIA, PA — A local developer says he has a deal in place to buy the Boyd Theatre and plans to make it the centerpiece of a $95 million hotel and entertainment complex. Hal Wheeler of ARCWheeler expects to close the deal with current owner Live Nation by November 25, and intends to build a 30-story, 250-room hotel to the west of the theater.

Live Nation would book live entertainment into the theater about 60 nights a year, leaving it available for other events the rest of the time. Broadway-type plays would not be part of the plan, as the hotel would be built on land that was to be the site of a stage house for the Boyd under a previous proposal.

Wheeler’s development proposal, like Live Nation’s earlier plan to turn the Boyd into a Broadway roadhouse, would restore the theater to its original art deco glamour. But the project’s scope is far more ambitious, and aims to transform the 1900 block of Chestnut Street from a retail backwater into a Center City nightlife destination.

Read the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer .

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Comments (1)

HowardBHaas on September 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Here’s our Weekly Update email from yesterday:

Philadelphia developer HAL WHEELER has signed an agreement to purchase the
historic Boyd Theatre in a few months from Live Nation. He is one of the
developers that Friends of the Boyd met with this past year. He would build
the MONACO brand of KIMPTON, a four star hotel, on the Sansom Street former
parking lot. This location is where the stage house expansion had previously
been planned. The Boyd would not host Touring Broadway musicals, which will
continue to be presented at the Academy of Music. The Boyd must be fully
restored to its original Art Deco beauty. Wheeler would reopen the closed
movie palace for a variety of entertainment and hotel events. He would like
to accommodate movie premieres and a film series. Inga Saffron’s article in
the Philadelphia Inquirer appears here:
View link

Friends of the Boyd are eager to hear more of the details for authentic and
complete restoration. The reopening of the Boyd Theatre would revitalize the
neighborhood including Chestnut West, but nothing is conclusive yet. The
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia would need to help
fund restoration, as cities and states nationwide have done with their movie

After the Boyd Theatre closed and appeared headed for demolition in 2002,
the FRIENDS OF THE BOYD, INC. organized as a nonprofit organization of
community volunteers, . For 6 years and working with three successive owners
of the theater and many allies, we are expecting the authentic restoration
of the Boyd and its reopening for entertainment. After a false start in
2006, when the Boyd was left at the altar by a prior owner, we have been
seeking other solutions.

This year has been quite exciting! The NATIONAL TRUST included the Boyd on
their national list of 11 endangered properties. The PHILADELPHIA
HISTORICAL COMMISSION legally protected the movie palace’s exterior.
Councilman BILL GREEN introduced his bill to allow for protection of
landmark interiors such as the Boyd. Friends of the Boyd are excited with
these milestones, but funding support is needed from the City and
Commonwealth, so the public can once again enjoy the Boyd Theatre!

Howard B. Haas

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