Committee rejects plans for Boyd Theatre replacement

The room erupted in applause on Tuesday after the Architecture Committee of the Philadelphia Historical Commission voted to reject the plans for a proposed apartment tower that would replace the historic Boyd Theatre, which is already being demolished. Its vote sends a recommendation to the full Historical Commission, which will consider the project next month.

The proposal was panned in the Inquirer last week as a “charmless, bulky stack of rentable units,” an assessment the committee seemed to share. Dominique Hawkins, the committee chair, said that the presentation didn’t provide a clear picture of the materials that were going to be used or how the tower portion of the project would relate to the base.

“I have a basic problem in that I don’t think there’s enough information on the drawings about the new construction for us to have a fully-formed idea of what you’re proposing,” Hawkins told the development team.

She added that a loading dock on Sansom Street, where the developers have also proposed retail space, seemed like “an incredible afterthought.”

Live Nation had previously proposed turning the Boyd into a modern movie theater. After the Historical Commission granted the owners’ financial hardship application, awarding them permission to tear the historic property down, the owners sold it to Pearl Properties, which is behind the current proposal.

The Historical Commission staff had recommended approving the plans with a number of specific provisos related to restoring historic elements of the property. Ultimately, the committee decided that the plans were incomplete and voted unanimously to deny the application. The full Commission will have the final word when it considers the project, likely at its next meeting on Friday, June 12.

See video of the vote below.

See video of the full hearing below.

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