Dan Gross | LiveNation dumping Sameric?

LIVENATION has "launched a process to divest" the majority of its North American theatrical assets, the company announced in the fourth-quarter financial report released on Thursday.

The report includes a Philadelphia theater among those to be sold. That would be the Sameric at 19th and Chestnut streets.

The theater, built as the Boyd in 1928, is Center City's last great movie palace and was closed in May 2002. Clear Channel, of which LiveNation is a subsidiary, bought the theater in January 2005 from the Goldenberg Group, and said it would turn the Sameric into a multi-use entertainment house. We reported in September that LiveNation had ceased construction and renovations on the Art Deco theater, and said its sale was "possible."

Howard B. Haas, chairman of Friends of the Boyd, a nonprofit group working to preserve the theater, is upset that the theater could again face demolition if sold to an owner who is not interested in operating it as a live venue.

Haas said his group will do whatever it can to ensure that the theater is not demolished.

"We are looking at all options for the property and a sale is one possibility," LiveNation spokesman John Vlautin told us in an e-mail. "But nothing definitive has been decided at this point about the Boyd," he wrote.

LiveNation is also selling its Broadway Across America business, which programs touring theater shows. Industry speculation is that LiveNation is looking to sell the venues as a package.

"We cannot predict when, or if, any transaction will occur with respect to these properties," the company's economic report said.

Last year the Pearl Group bought three small auditoriums attached to the Boyd from the Goldenberg Group and is seeking retail or restaurant tenants. *

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