Sunday, August 31, 2014
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Eight-screen movie theater and restaurant planned for old Boyd

The Boyd Theater at 1908 Chestnut St. - a 1920s landmark movie house shuttered for 20years - is poised to get new life at the hands of iPic Entertainment, which announced that it would build an eight-screen, 744-seat movie theater complete with one of its Tanzy Italian restaurants.

Eight-screen movie theater and restaurant planned for old Boyd

The Boyd Theater at 1908 Chestnut St. - a 1920s landmark movie house shuttered for 11 years - is poised to get an eight-screen, 744-seat movie theater complete with an upscale Italian restaurant.

The Florida company iPic Entertainment, which has nine theaters in seven states, is meeting this morning with Philadelphia city officials to spell out the features.

The project's completion date is estimated at 2015.

The new iPic Theaters at The Boyd will feature reclining chairs, pillows and blankets, as well as buttons that will allow patrons to summon a waiter to deliver food and cocktails. The theater will also have a Tanzy restaurant.

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The auditoriums will seat 40 to 120.

Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks attended the 1993 world-premiere screening of the drama Philadelphia there. 

Previous plans to develop and operators, including Live Nation, have fallen through. Live Nation, though a subsidiary Boyd Development LP, still owns the bricks, according to city records.

Friends of the Boyd, a group of preservationists, opposes iPic’s plans, said its president, Howard Haas.

Haas met Tuesday with iPic representatives. He said he was told that the only aspect of the 1928 Art Deco building that would be preserved would be the Chestnut Street façade.

“They’d demolish the auditorium, and that is the theater,” Haas said. “Trendy multiplexes last 10 years [before they’re remodeled]; iPic should build elsewhere in the city.”

Asked if he’d rather see the landmark remain boarded and empty, Haas mentioned other historic theaters that remained empty even longer before they were redeveloped with historic preservation in mind, including the New Amsterdam in Times Square and the Kings, now undergoing restoration in Brooklyn.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” he said.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at mklein@philly.com.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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