Things We’re Looking Forward to in 2013: The New Parkway Theatre

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Photo by ArchPlan Baltimore
Photo by ArchPlan Baltimore

We’ll put this on the list of things that’ll be brighter in 2013:  the long-abandoned Parkway Theatre, a once-vibrant building at the corner of North Avenue and Charles Street (more recently “the Rodney Dangerfield of Baltimore theatres“), will be getting a fancy makeover, courtesy of some local power players.

The Parkway is one of those buildings that I’ve always driven by and daydreamed about repurposing. Its central Station North location is easily accessible from many parts of the city, and it seemed a shame that the historic structure should’ve fallen into disrepair. Looks like the city was having similar thoughts; it requested proposals for renovating the theater this fall, and made its final selection last week.

The Parkway will be turned into an exhibition/education/film screening venue, courtesy the combined powers of the Maryland Film Festival, Johns Hopkins, and MICA. The schools will hold classes in the building the film fest will host screenings and events; and a restaurant and bar will provide space for live music events. Its location right next to the Annex Theatre’s new space in the former New York Fried Chicken building is further indication that Station North is on the up-and-up.

The renovation will cost $16.8 million, and there’s plenty of work to be done — check out Sun photographer Amy Davis’s shots of the theatre’s ragged interior here — but we have a feeling it’ll be worth the wait.



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2 COMMENTS

  1. $16.8 million?? WOEFULLY inadequate to do what really needs to be done to this incredible space. Subtract out what will be spent on the other two buildingd in the development package (#1820 N. Charles and #1 W. North) which will likely eat up at least $5 million (also inadequate for those spaces, and what’s left is MAYBE enough to remove the asbestos from the theatre, stabilize (NOT restore) the decorative plaster and do just enough electrical and plumbing work to get a use and occupancy permit. Excavation to provide critical support space? Forgetttaabbbout it. Extend the back wall of the stage to have a usable performance space? Ditto. Have a nice (available) theatre returned to the now empty chambers? No way. Build a parking garage? Ha! Better they should spend the money levelling the place rather than do a half, no, make that a quarter-assed job (at best). Not for nothing do I call it the “Rodney Dangerfield of Baltimore theatres.”

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