Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What's New on Wednesday

-Very good sources tell us that a deal is in the works that would allow the Independence Charter School to take over the former Durham School at 16th and Lombard Streets, allowing the well-regarded charter to expand while remaining in Center City.

-Check out the grand foyer of the Free Library on Logan Square. Workers have ripped out the bulky display cases that lined the walls, revealing the grandeur of the Horace Trumbauer-Julian Abele-designed columns. A few tiles were damaged during the construction, and the library is now determining how to make repairs. No word on when the library will start work on its Moshe Safdie-design addition. I've been hearing that fundraising is going slowly. I was reminded again last night after a creepy visit to the women's room just how desperately the library needs to start renovations. Even a fresh coat of paint downstairs could improve the atmosphere

-In Howard Haas' weekly newsletter on the Boyd Theatre, he writes that the Goldenberg Group has sold its remaining interest in the movie house, which consisted of the three small theaters facing Chestnut Street. The buyer is restaurant developer Jim Pearlstein of Pearl Properties, who is responsible for luring both DiBruno's and Devil's Alley to Chestnut Street. For a long time, there has been talk about demolishing the three modern theaters, which face Chestnut Street with blank, buff-brick walls, and building something more interesting in their place. Shops, restaurants, even a skinny midrise apartment house might be built on the site. Meanwhile, we hear that plans for construction of a live theater inside the old, art deco Boyd may be stalled.

-Bad news from Chestnut Hill. Bob Shusterman, the architect-lawyer-neighbor who has spent the last five years fighting the Venturi scott Brown & Associates addition to the Woodmere Art Museum, has filed notice that he will appeal the latest Common Pleas court decision. That ruling affirmed that the Zoning Board of Adjustment acted correctly in granting the museum a variance. The appeal means that Philadelphia will have to wait more years for the Woodmere to realize its potential.

-The previous post is now safe for linking. All the URLs have been fixed and tested.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the homeless appreciate the modifications to the library.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any idea when and if the new library addition will be started. has the design been decided on?

11:48 AM  
Blogger Cuprousone said...

What more does anyone know about delays at the Boyd? (Howard has either been hinting at it or is doing a bad job of covering up.) Why would anyone be interested in the Goldenburg site if nothing is happening on the rest of the lot? If the theater is not reopened, it will sooner rather than later be demolished.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Howard B. Haas said...

The Boyd Theatre will be restored & reopened. Complicated, expensive projects take time & they hit bumps in the road sometimes, but several weeks of Big musicals in the Academy of Music isn't enough for our great city. Philadelphia needs a year round theater with enough seats (2400) to accomodate the musicals, as well as other entertainment. The Boyd WILl again be an anchor to fill up the restaurants, nightclubs, and bars, as well as stores, hotels, etc.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Cuprousone said...

I don't dispute your points, Howard, but things do seem to be lagging. And what rumors or other information is Inga referring to?

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Howard B Haas said...

In 1-05, Clear Channel announced purchase from the Goldenberg Group of the historic Boyd, and that they would restore & reopen the Boyd by late 2006. Obviously, that hasn't been accomplished yet, partly because Clear Channel spun off the theater operation into a new company, Live Nation. Friends of the Boyd hope they will start major renovation soon. As stated, sometimes various factors cause delays; however, the project is NOT dead.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Woodmere does not have to wait. If the appeal is so frivolous, then it should have the cajones to start building "at risk," unless of course the appellant has obtained a temporary restraining order. If he has, then this means that the court has determined the appeal has some merit. So whaccha gonna do Woodmere?? Go ahead start building . . . you're not scared of the courts invalidating your variance, are ya???

11:45 PM  
Blogger rasphila said...

The Woodmere could risk building, but they won't. Institutions like the Woodmere can't really do that. On a much smaller scale, my Quaker Meeting and its attached school were once held up on a construction project by an appeal from one of the Meeting's own members. The appeal was frivolous, but the Meeting and the school couldn't proceed. In the end, the project's lone opponent (the obstinate Meeting member) withdrew his appeal under pressure from the Meeting, the school, and every relevant neighborhood group. There may be some way to bring similar informal pressure in this situation. I'm not familiar enough with the players to know. But even if some kind of compromise is possible, no responsible Board of Trustees is going to proceed with construction until they get the all-clear. The risk is just too great. Perhaps they should, but they won't.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous sabraisahulagirl said...

Institutions like the Free Library were built intending to offer educational access to those who did not have the resources to afford to buy books or pay to enter the private libraries of the elite. Homelessness is a separate issue; the library is about opportunity for all -- that's what the architecture says and not maintaining it or letting it speak is a betrayal of its original mission.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous soffit said...

Institutions like the Free Library were built intending to offer educational access to those who did not have the resources to afford to buy books or pay to enter the private libraries of the elite. Homelessness is a separate issue; the library is about opportunity for all -- that's what the architecture says and not maintaining it or letting it speak is a betrayal of its original mission.

6:56 PM  

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