SENATOR Theatre RFP: BDC Goes with “Last Man Standing” logic

Even though experts have stated that historic theatres, like Baltimore’s internationally recognized SENATOR Theatre, have the best chance of survival as non-profit, multi-purpose arts & entertainment venues, the Baltimore Business Journal & Baltimore Sun report that the BDC will recommend The Cusack plan to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

This is a plan that turns ownership over to privately-ownership continuing the same format the previous owner came under criticism by many for maintaining, that of a first-run movie house.

On top of that, according to the BBJ, the Cusacks plan to ask the city for a $100,000 grant and $600,000 loan – again, something critics claimed (many times incorrectly) that the former owner was guilty – asking for public funds to run a private business!

Cusack also asked for a $100,000 grant from the city and another $600,000 loan, funds he would use to renovate the structure.

So, does this make sense to anyone?
Public subsidy of a private business
(more than former owner Tom Kiefaber received?!)
to continue the same format as the previous owner?…

It’s said the mayor and the Board of Estimates will have to approve the recommendation before final negotiations can happen.

Now more than ever you should make your voice heard to the Mayor’s Office about this situation.

So, join those who have sent letters to the mayor about a proper evaluation of plans for the future of the theatre, like:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Theatre Historical Society of America

Baltimore Heritage, Inc.

Preservation Maryland

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. He also wants the building for free. To get historic tax credits, he would have to essentially have an ownership interest in the building, which means they are going to basically give him the city taxpayer’s existing $1 million investment in The Senator for free + the $700K that the BBJ mentions, plus, if I’m remembering correctly, a $100K or $200K grant from the BDC that I don’t think is included in this $700K figure. BDC gets most of its income from city taxpayers, so that’s taxpayer money too.

    This is MUCH more city taxpayer money than Tom Kiefaber ever got or ever even requested.

  2. Correction: Actually, the grant from the BDC is included in the $700K figure. It’s still WAY more money than Tom Kiefaber ever got or ever requested from city taxpayers. In fact, it’s $1,700,000 more than he got from city taxpayers in the past 10 years.

  3. I vote for the Cusack plan to take over the Senator. The Cusacks have a much better business track record than Kiefaber and they will likely keep the Senator alive. As for ‘destroying’ the Ladies Lounge – I say it’s about time! Three lousy stalls and a huge ‘lounge’ area that no one uses? Redo, please! As for all the ‘free’ money and tax incentives, well, that’s the way business gets done in the 21st century! Every corporation and important business in this city, of which the Senator is one, start up with similar deals.


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