LN Sells Boyd Theatre

Live Nation has agreed to a deal to sell Philadelphia’s historic Boyd Theatre to local developer ARCWheeler for an undisclosed price.

The Boyd, a 1928 Art Deco movie palace that was granted historic status just last month, may yet be resurrected as a concert venue by its new owner.

ARCWheeler’s plans include a renovation of the theatre and development of a 250-room Kimpton Monaco Hotel and two restaurants on different levels of the building. The developer also intends to enter into a booking agreement with Live Nation for live entertainment.

It’s expected that the Boyd Theatre will become an anchor for a $95 million entertainment, hotel and restaurant complex on the city’s historic Chestnut Street.

“The unique concept of this project will offer one-of-a-kind entertainment and hospitality that will complement the current cultural options Philadelphia already offers,” ARCWheeler principal Hal Wheeler said in a statement. “The programs and environment of the Boyd Theatre will be unlike any other in the country.”

The developer projects bringing in 50 to 60 live events per year to the Boyd upon completion of renovations, comparable to “the light musical entertainment currently booked in Atlantic City venues,” according to the statement. The Boyd is also expected to offer comedy and lecture events and films, including first-run movies and premieres.

Clear Channel Entertainment, before its spinoff into Live Nation, purchased the Boyd Theatre in 2005 and planned a $31 million restoration. Those plans were scrapped in 2006 and the theatre was put on the sales block.

The Boyd Theatre made headlines earlier this year when the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the theatre as one of the 11 most endangered sites in America. It was subsequently placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, enshrining its landmark status.

ARCWheeler said it intends to apply for tax credits toward the preservation of the interior portions of the Boyd Theatre, and is exploring means of public, private and nonprofit financing to cover rehabilitation costs.
The building has been closed since 2002.