SENATOR Theatre RFP: Public Meeting Results

Updated: Jan 8th, 7:50 am (1 new news link)

Tom Harris (a FoTS Ambassador) shares some brief comments on last night’s meeting (feel free to add your own!), below. And, as promised, here is the list of representatives on the BDC’s Advisory Panel (and contact links if we can find them), so everyone can contact them with their opinions and/or questions on the four proposals. Cast your vote in our new poll while you’re at it (scroll down & look to your right)!

BDC Advisory Panel members :

Laura Thul Penza (Senator Community Trust)

Catherine Evans (Belvedere Improvement Association)

Michele LeFaivre (Elsinore Village)

Karen DeKamp (York Road Partnership)

Rick Swanson (Govanstowne Business Assoc.)

Bill Gilmore (Baltimore Promotion & the Arts)

Carla Nelson (BDC and Mayor’s Office of Women & Minority Business Development)

Larry Jenkins (Baltimore City Law Dept.)

Karen Noonan (Theatre Historical Society of America)

Laura Perkins (Friends of The SENATOR)

Questions regarding the RFP process can be directed to
Kristen Mitchell
at the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) at

Proposal (Respondents):

The Lofts at The Senator (J.R. Owens Corporation)

Tom Harris (FoTS Ambassador): As stated at the Jan. 5th public meeting, he’s not interested in anything but saving the theatre and he believes that means building a mixture of apartments and retail space around the sides and back of the theatre to produce “new revenue streams”. Personally, I found the concept renderings detracted from the beauty of the theatre and frankly, as another attendee noted, this plan leaves out the heart of the matter and the theatre itself- what should go on inside the theatre.

The Senator Theatre, LLC (James & Kathleen Cusack)

T.Harris (FoTS): As much as I’ve loved seeing 1st run movies at The Senator and have dearly missed that, I cannot buy into the belief that, given the financial realities and contracts involved with 1st run exhibition, the Cusack’s would fare better than Keifaber. For that matter, recent news stories have shown that even the multiplexes have not been doing well! My fear is that in a few years time, we’ll be revisiting the threat of The Senator closing. I wish it otherwise, but I think a more viable plan is called for.

The Theatre Project PUPKIDS, Inc. (Noch-Noch Productions)

Tom Harris (FoTS): In short, while a well intended mission and open-arms policy toward a multitude of programming make this a nice idea, I don’t believe this plan, alone, would support the theatre’s future. There was simply not sufficient evidence of theatre management, scheduling or financial expertise given at the presentation.

WTMD at The Senator (Senator Theatre Redevelopmentl, LLC – Towson University)

Tom Harris (FoTS): I believe this plan to be the best fit for The Senator’s future. It adopts the vision that has proven itself time & again in other historic theatres across the country. That of a nonprofit-owned, community-based, multipurpose arts, education & entertainment venue. The diversified programming would attract more than just movie-goers (yes movies, including the occasional 1st run are included!) to North Baltimore, exposing local businesses to a multitude of potential new clientele. The biggest problem I see is overcoming what some residents fear is a “college-town invasion”, but those who paid attention to the sampled daily programming would see that it caters to a much wider audience. That said, I want to know more about the intended “historically-sensitive renovations” and if they have financing firmly in place to undertake the task, as this was not convincingly answered during the public presentation Q & A.

Editor’s note: Mr. Harris is employed by TU (not by WTMD) and has had no input whatsoever in the WTMD/TU proposal.

Please feel free to comment!

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] keep using the list of Advisory Panel members we posted yesterday to keep your communications flowing to the people that best represent your […]

  2. […] who attended the BDC’s Public Meeting earlier this month are probably not surprised at these developments. Given reactions to the presentations the general […]

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