Senator Theatre Closer to Makeover Deserving of the Grande Dame

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The Senator Theatre’s fate has teetered for years like a girl playing dress up in mom’s heels. Fortunately those toting the big girl purse power are as fond of our cinematic Deco Dame as I am.

On Wednesday, the city’s Board of Estimates voted in favor of a resolution that approves $300,000 for the Senator’s restoration plans under the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Legacy Grant.

The restoration plan that will cost over $3 million. Included the cost: three screens, bringing the theatre to a total of four screens, new seating and projection equipment.

Between a city loan and state and local incentives, the project has already received $1,300,000 for renovations.

This might raise some concerned eyebrows from people less interested in preserving an architectural and historical diva and more interested in ensuring that renovations will attract more patrons. It appears that progress is already being made in that direction.

A change has been incorporated to the Senator at its Belvedere Square location that contributes to the Charles’ success — Sofi’s Crepes. The crêperie offers another incentive for Belvedere shoppers and diners to turn the corner onto York Road for an afternoon or evening out.

Renovations are scheduled to start in April and projected to be complete by the end of 2012. The Senator has always been one of my leading lady Baltimore landmarks. Here’s hoping that this is the beginning of her big comeback.



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3 COMMENTS

  1. While I share your desire to see The Senator Theatre restored and a vibrant destination (I still mourn the loss of my childhood theatre, The Grand in Highlandtown), it’s frankly a little disturbing to see Bmore journalists repeating mistakes and/or seemingly not performing fact-checking before publication.

    You may want to check sources on this statement from your article:
    Cusack, who also owns the Charles Theater with his daughter, Kathleen Cusack…

    They do not own The Senator Theatre, they rent it from Baltimore City ($1/yr last I heard).

  2. Just stumbled onto this site and this article. Yes… WAY too much mis information continually gets reported and/or copy and pasted. From something as ‘simple’ as stating that Mr. Cusack owns The Charles. Several years ago, The Baltimore Sun printed commentary from the (actual) owners of The Charles Theatre, alerting the few folks who actually happened upon this correction. To date, Mr. Cusack does not and never has owned The Charles, nor does he own The Senator Theatre.
    Not much progress has happened in the time since the keys were handed over to the Baltimore Development Corporation and the folks leasing the theatre (The Cusacks) Since this time, no regular daily maintenance had taken place at the theatre. Waiting for the money given to them by the city and state (much of which is taxpayer dollars and ‘loans’ that do not have to be repaid) as they say, have been preventing them from doing things such as mowing the lawn, removing graffitti from the building, sweeping the sidewalk, shampooing the carpeting, cleaning the restrooms, changing out burned out bulbs (replacement bulbs were provided to them but they stated they were not interested in using them b/c ‘it would give the wrong impression’) Scaffolding has been in place for many months now though no actual work has taken place. It does not take money from an outside source to simply roll up ones’ own sleeves and take care of some of these smaller daily issues. It comes with the territory of owning/leasing such a gem.
    To date, the cost is over $4 million dollars and may very well soar.
    Much of what their restoration plan involves (on their current senator website) bdoes not involve actual restoration.
    Unfortunately, their projected numbers are waaaaay down as well. The first run movie business has been nose diving for many years. To add additional theatres, have a ‘first run movies only’ business plan and plans to possibly permanetly alter this historic landmark on the national register is a worry. Even more of a worry is the big multiplex project happening in Towson.
    Most nights/evenings Sofie’s Crepes is closed, other nights only a few people are there.
    Keep a close eye on this project, and please look a little further into providing the public with the correct information. We desperately need more local meida to do this.

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