The advocacy group Friends of the Boyd turns to the public once more in the long fight to save Center City’s last movie palace, the Boyd Theater at 19th and Chestnut Streets. As Hidden City’s Christopher Mote reported in October, a Florida-based theater chain, iPic Entertainment, in partnership with Philadelphia developer Neal Rodin, has proposed to bring a multiplex luxury cinema to the Boyd, a plan that would restore the art deco façade but destroy the sumptuous auditorium. The rally will take place at the Boyd, 1910 Chestnut Street, Tuesday, December 10, 11:30AM-1PM.
“Our prior Save the Boyd rallies got the attention of City officials and played a key role in convincing a prior owner of the Boyd to not demolish our last movie palace,” says Howard Haas, president of the Friends group. “Friends of the Boyd needs now to send a message to iPic that many people will be upset if they insist on destroying our historic movie palace, and a message to the City officials that we need their help!”
The exterior of the Boyd and the structure that contains the auditorium are protected under the City’s historic preservation statute. iPic will need a hardship exemption–a ruling from the Historical Commission that says it’s economically impossible to develop the Boyd without demolishing the auditorium–in order to proceed with its plan.
Haas will be joined at the rally by Caroline Boyce, executive director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Boyce will unveil the Alliance’s 2013 Endangered Properties List, which will include the Boyd.