Battle continues to save Beach Theatre

posted by CSWalczak on February 1, 2010 at 9:45 am

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.

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Comments (5)

markp on February 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

I’m sure knowing Frank Theatres, they will hire the best lawyers money can buy, and eventually this beautiful theatee will be demolished, although I personally hope not. I was in it many years ago, probably early-mid 90’s and it was beautiful.

MPol on February 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm

If, indeed, the theatre is mold-infested, structurally falling apart, and the projection, etc. overall, quite shoddy, etc., it’s because city officials allowed it to fall into disrepair, and average moviegoers have also avoided the place as well. As much as I hate to read/hear of movie theatres being demolished, it’s a wonder that city officials and average moviegoers haven’t learned their lessons from these experiences. Just saying.

HowardBHaas on February 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

MPOl, as the article says, the preservationists themselves fixed up the theater & were the ones most recent to operate it! Do you have personal knowledge that the preservationists showed movies with shoddy projection or in a shoddy appearing building?

what’s going on here, is that the landlord movie chain wants to cash in on the real estate whereas others want the history of the movie theater to continue into the future.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on February 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Sounds like the owners are just looking to make a buck. While making a profit is OK, It’s not OK to do so with the demolition of a historic building. There’s no reason why they won’t sell the theater for a realistic value other than to thwart anyone’s attempt to save it. The attitude of “I own this and I can do whatever I want with it” is what has destroyed much of America’s local historical fabric. Many towns are nothing but ugly strip malls due to owners not wanting to invest in the preservation of their holdings and allowing wholesale demolition. He should be stopped.

MPol on February 2, 2010 at 1:55 am

The landlord movie chain sounds like it wants to make some fast bucks here by cashing in on the real estate, which is an all-too-common occurrence regarding venerable old movie palaces.

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