Baltimore’s Senator Theatre – One Year Later

It has been more than a full year since Mr. Cusack and his daughter became the operating tenants to the city owned, internationally recognized Senator Theatre. Many Baltimoreans had high expectations that the operators of The Charles Theatre would rejuvenate and revitalize The Senator given the plans presented. However, lately I’ve been hearing from residents and patrons that the state of the theatre in the meantime has deteriorated.

Having not been in the Belvedere Square area recently I made it a point to drive past The Senator this Thursday night. I was literally stunned by just how badly the theatre looked from the street. In my 27 years as a patron of The Senator .

While I cannot call myself a close friend of longtime Senator Theatre exhibition expert and film preservationist legend William (“Bill”) Hewitt, I’ve enjoyed countless films he presented over the years. I was even more fortunate have briefly worked with him (as did my family and several others during 18th month all-volunteer period). Given this and what I’ve learned of the man from others, it’s obvious he was the consummate film exhibition professional, and, a tremendous contributor to The Senator’s fame. I am therefore comfortable stating that he would NEVER have accepted the “black-eyed” appearance The Senator Theatre now conveys in the Belvedere Square community.

Moreover, my heart and jaw dropped as I realized that this man’s “memorial”, placed on the iconic marquee, occupied the dark center section.

A recent article by Adam Bednar writes:

[Mr. Cusack] also said there’s no current maintenance being done on the building because they are waiting for state funds and city approval to begin a rehab of the structure.

If this has been the approach by the tenants toward maintenance, as it seems, what should we expect if they are not awarded government funding they expect to receive?

The citizen-owners of this Baltimore landmark, historic building advocates, film historians and preservationists alike should not only take note of the situation, but make their opinions and voices heard – via online petition, yes, but also at Baltimore City Hall. For what does it say of us if we allow this last remaining, operational, historic Baltimore movie house to be neglected – In a state in which The Senator Theatre and The League of Historic American Theatres calls home?

-Tom Harris


December sees classic films return to The Senator Theatre!

Three films from 1939, “The Year of The Senator”:

Gone With The Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington & The Wizard of Oz @ The Senator in December

Tickets available now: Click the image, on the next page click Movie Quick Link

Tickets on sale now at


a seasonal favorite returns…

Saturdays, December 17th and 24th only
@ 10am:
Frank Capra’s
It’s A Wonderful Life
James Stewart, Donna Reed & Lionel Barrymore

Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life"
Admission: $5 worth of canned goods at the door, to benefit GEDCO Cares

71 Years Ago Today The Senator Theatre Opened Its Doors

On October 5, 1939 Baltimore’s “Theatre of Distinction” opened to the public with exhibition of “Stanley and Livingstone“, starring Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly and Richard Greene.

SENATOR Theatre RFP: Mayor wants “a period on that” while ignoring the real issues

WYPR - Midday with Dan Rodricks with Mayor Rawlings-BlakeAs stated by Dan Rodricks yesterday on WYPR’s Midday radio show, Baltimore City’s Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has had to face a $121 million budget shortfall, problems  with a $65 million pension system for the city’s first responders and an $870,000 lawsuit settlement (dealing with zero tolerance police issues under then Mayor Martin O’Malley).

To deal with with these issues citizens and visitors face increased taxes and fees, while city employees face layoffs.

This kind of economic crunch is not just a problem in Baltimore, to be sure. But, given all this we have to question, more than ever, the administration’s wisdom regarding the historic Senator Theatre’s future.

  • On at least three occasions the input of historic theatre redevelopment experts have been refused and/or completely ignored – twice by the BDC and once by the mayor’s office!
  • The plan to be approved returns The Senator Theatre to a proven failed programming format. The same that many pointed to as leading to the theatre’s foreclosure last year: first run movies
  • On top of the nearly $1 million already invested by Baltimore City to acquire The Senator at foreclosure, the “winning” plan is expected to request in upwards of $1 million in additional taxpayer moneyall going to a private business, not a non-profit.
    A bargain for sure for the Cusack’s, but a significant financial risk for Baltimore City!

We’ve advocated for over a year (and it should be noted that Mr. Kiefaber, former owner of the theatre, even longer) that The Senator’s best chance to return to its role as an economic engine for North Baltimore is to be handed over to a non-profit organization who can raise funds (from more sources available than private business), can draw on expertise to operate this internationally recognized landmark as a multipurpose venue with a variety of programming that will bring a wider, diversified audience to the area.

Keeping that all this in mind, consider the following exchange between WYPR’s Midday host, Dan Rodricks and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake from yesterday’s program (FOTS Editors’ notes have been entered at key points):

Rodricks: Here’s another question about economic development from Laura:

“The Baltimore Development Corporation recently announced that you approved the agency’s selection of The Charles Theatre operator to take over The Senator Theatre. Do you in fact endorse that plan of action? If so, how do you justify the taxpayer’s investment of a million dollars, so far, in acquiring this historic venue?”
[Ed. note: We now know that the second half of this question was not even presented, because it asked about the additional taxpayer funding the plan expects to receive]

Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:

“I don’t know in my time on the council…to being Mayor, there’s been an economic development project that  I have received more emails about than The Senator Theatre. It was a very complete process.
[Ed. note:  To the contrary. Expert input was ignored several times, even by the mayor’s senior staff!]
It was a transparent, open process.
[Ed: Records used by the BDC have not been released to the public, because it would prove they ignored expert input and questions concerning Robert Embry and Jay Brodie’s meeting with Towson University’s president just before WTMD withdrew from contention.
Additionally, the mayor’s office ignored a free consultation offered by an award-winning historic theatre redevelopment expert! FOTS leaders personally provided the contact information to the mayor and her senior staff in a face-to-face meeting  in early May where we were assured they would take advantage of the offer before making a decision]

“Uhm, Mr. Cusack had the winning proposal and we’re moving forward.
[Ed: Incorrect. His was the last remaining proposal – there is a huge difference! At that point, on our opinion, the RFP should have been restarted. Not only because we should not settle for “what’s left”, but because the plan did not stand up to expert scrutiny!]

I think there are so many people who have an emotional attachment and uh, are probably friendly with Mr. Kiefaber and want him to keep it no matter what.
[Ed: Yes. Because they care about The Senator and its future in the community. Any friendship with the former owner is irrelevant and was not our message. Nor was it from the hundreds we heard from who sent the emails. The overall driving message was that hands-on historical redevelopment expertise should be utilized to guide the whole process!]

But, that’s just not possible and we’ve certainly, uh,  danced that dance under very many administrations and now, you know, you and I talked about putting a period at that law suit, we’re putting a period on that relationship and moving forward. And I’m very encouraged.”
[Ed: Putting “a period” on the relationship with Kiefaber is not the point.
We sincerely wish officials AND the media stop making Kiefaber the crux of the argument! Focus on the TRUE issue: The viable, sustainable future of The Senator Theatre and what it could mean to the North Baltimore community!]

Rodricks: With all those emails you mentioned, did anyone express lack of support investing in The Senator?

Mayor: Mmmm…

Rodricks: Or was most of the mail suggestions on who should be running it? How it should be operated?
[Ed: Yes, indeed, many did, particularly those from FOTS members! Non-profit, multipurpose, arts, education, entertainment (including, but not exclusively movies)…]

Mayor: Suggestions on how to keep mr. Kiefaber there.
[Ed: Have to admit here our patience with this nonsense is really tested]

Rodricks: In place.

Mayor: Right, Yeah.

Sorry madam mayor. Either you weren’t given all of the incoming emails or we have to think that you are not truly representing the sentiments of the vast majority that were sent in.

The bottom line is that this issue is not about keeping Tom Kiefaber in The Senator Theatre.
The issues ARE about accountability of government (and pseudo-government) officials and transparency to the public in their dealings. Especially when spending taxpayer money on deals that are not in the best interest of those taxpayers.

Listen to the show for yourself: WYPR’s Midday with Dan Rodricks – June 28, 2010

SENATOR Theatre RFP: Theatre Historical Society Rep’s Letter to Mayor Rawlings-Blake

On the heels of our letters to Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, another of the BDC’s Senator Advisory Panel members has also written the mayor.

Below is a copy of the letter, written by Karen Colizzi Noonan, President of the Theatre Historical Society of America.

February 27, 2010

Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Mayor, City of Baltimore
100 N. Holliday Street Room 250
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Dear Mayor Rawlings-Blake:

As President of Theatre Historical Society of America, I write to you today to convey my unconditional support for the careful and considered reuse of the Senator Theatre, one of America’s most recognizable historic theaters.

Further, I implore you as a matter of responsible stewardship, to include an experienced, knowledgeable historic preservation expert with specific expertise in theater preservation, on the BDC panel charged with deciding the Senator’s future.

The BDC has already reached out to the League of Historic American Theaters, located in Baltimore, to supply written input. It is imperative that such an expert physically sits on the commission and has the opportunity to give on-going guidance and consultation as part of the deliberations.

The Senator’s storied façade is revered nationally and internationally as an icon of Art Deco design in general and theater architectural history specifically. The Senator’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places demands that those responsible for its care take every step within their power to protect the integrity, viability and historic nature of the structure.

Your administration has a small window of opportunity to create a safe environment for the Senator’s to flourish in the decades to come. The eyes of the Preservation Community are on Baltimore as this historic decision is made. Please feel free to call on Theatre Historical Society or me for assistance at any time.


Karen Colizzi Noonan
President, Theatre Historical Society of America

Indifference to history is more than just ignorance;
it is a form of ingratitude.
– David McCullough

SENATOR Theatre RFP: FOTS Takes A Stand, Sends Letters to Mayor Rawlings-Blake

Today, two members of Friends of The Senator (FOTS) emailed letters to Baltimore’s new mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake warning her that FOTS sees the BDC’s RFP process for theatre as flawed in its current situation. Specifically, that FOTS considers the process invalid without the inclusion of experienced historic theatre redevelopment experts.

What follows are the texts of those messages to the Mayor in their entirety.

UPDATE: Share our sentiments?
Now you can use our form letter (and add your own thoughts) to let the mayor know how you feel!

UPDATE II: Tom Harris asked that a passage be clarified.
His previous terminology is redlined and revised appears in blue italics.

From Laura Perkins, FoTS delegate to the BDC’s Senator Theatre Advisory Panel:

To The Honorable Mayor Rawlings-Blake:

I recently served on the Baltimore Development Corporation’s [BDC] Senator Theatre RFP advisory panel, along with other community leaders, as the sole representative of the Friends of The Senator [FOTS] group. I approached my duties on the RFP panel with optimism, determined to represent the interests and concerns of the FOTS and help identify an optimal future for Baltimore’s beloved Senator Theatre.

The Senator is a revered Baltimore City landmark and a celebrated State of Maryland historic showplace. It is also a renowned historic monument on the National Register of Historic Places and a source of pride among Senator enthusiasts and preservation groups nationwide, as well as a source of concern regarding its uncertain future.

I have invested considerable time and resources to research the complex issues involved with The Senator’s status as an endangered national historic landmark, and its future redevelopment and preservation potential based on successful models across the nation. My research was very encouraging, and I looked forward with enthusiasm and good faith to help produce an informed representative assessment of the two RFPs.

Madam Mayor, I applaud your intention to bring a new level of transparency and integrity to Baltimore City government practices, including the BDC. You have more support than you may imagine in that regard. In that light, I feel it is my responsibility to inform you and the public that based on my in-depth discussions with film exhibition professionals and historic theatre redevelopment experts, the alarming manner in which the BDC is conducting the Senator Theatre RFP selection process is procedurally flawed, and it must be rectified.

The process lacks the expertise and crucial transparency required for a high-profile civic redevelopment project that to date has required the investment of over a million dollars in taxpayer funds. It must become more objective and transparent as soon as possible. The Senator RFPs need objective scrutiny by industry experts to advise the panel and the BDC board, if the results, which they expect you to bless in announcing the new ownership and future direction of the Senator Theatre, are to have any validity. At this point, the RFP process is a shambles.

A key issue is the BDC’s refusal to allow a qualified historic theatre redevelopment consultant and a film exhibition expert to actively assist the citizen panel and the BDC in the professional evaluation of the two RFPs under consideration.

The Senator’s transition to new ownership and operation has many aspects to consider, including mercurial film industry dynamics, historic theatre preservation concerns and tax credit issues, evolution in programming models, deriving maximum economic benefits for the community, and models for non-profit structure and fundraising for historic theatres. It is vitally important to bring on board objective industry experts with successful track records from consulting on and managing similar projects nationwide. The industry experts have the professional experience required in managing the transition of an historic motion picture theatre like The Senator from its outmoded, single-screen first-run business model to a restored, thriving entertainment venue that delivers the maximum economic and cultural benefits to the community in perpetuity.

The Senator’s former owner, Tom Kiefaber, previously brought industry expert John Lind of Venuetech, Inc. from California to Baltimore as a consultant to meet with the extended community, and his knowledge and insights regarding The Senator’s future non-profit incarnation were invaluable. Mr. Lind is an accomplished historic theatre redevelopment professional who has the high level of experience and an impressive portfolio of success that would greatly assist the BDC’s mandate to identify an optimal outcome for the Senator RFP process. The FOTS believe that John Lind is an ideal candidate, although he is certainly not the only option available.

The BDC must reach out to include objective industry experts like Mr. Lind. These experts have developed a set of established procedures over the years, through many successful historic theatre redevelopment projects nationwide, to ensure that the final RFP recommendation submitted to you has been determined in the most credible and informed manner possible. So far, the BDC representatives have simply insisted on keeping the Senator RFP process shrouded in secrecy. In light of your recent reassurances to the citizens of Baltimore that your administration will lift Baltimore’s City Hall above and beyond its widely sullied reputation, I hope you will agree that this odd and provocative stance by the BDC is simply unacceptable, and that it warrants your thoughtful intervention.

Until qualified historic theatre redevelopment professionals are allowed into the mix in earnest, I cannot in good conscience participate further in the BDC’s tainted Senator Theatre RFP evaluation process. After careful consideration of the circumstances, I have resigned from the Senator RFP panel in protest and informed the BDC of my position in writing on behalf of the Friends of the Senator group, who support my actions on their behalf.

Thank you for your kind attention to this matter. I trust that you and your staff will assess the seriousness of this situation and agree with the FOTS group and others regarding the wisdom of encouraging the BDC leadership to open up the process and fulfill their mandate and responsibility to engage expert industry professionals in the Senator RFP evaluation process. This potentially damaging controversy will otherwise continue to escalate and potentially undermine the professional credibility of all concerned.

Laura Perkins
Friends of The Senator

From Tom Harris:

To The Honorable Mayor Rawlings-Blake,

As a founder of the Friends of The Senator (FOTS) and its president, I’ve been informed by Laura Perkins, our representative to the BDC’s Senator RFP Advisory Panel that the future of The Senator Theatre remains in jeopardy due to the curiously stubborn and misguided actions of Baltimore Development Corporation officials. If I may briefly have your attention to consider the following:

The iconic Senator is an internationally recognized Baltimore landmark, and the last of its kind in the state. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in its illustrious 70 year history it has hosted scores of high-profile premieres, served as critical economic engine and cultural amenity in the heart of the Belvedere Square business and residential communities and produced hundreds of fundraising events that have supported a wide variety of not-for-profit, charitable organizations.

If the BDC is to make an honest and optimal recommendation to your office for a plan that envisions the best possible future for The Senator, the recommended plan must be scrutinized (and when awarded, carefully overseen) to ensure that its business and programming model will not only afford it sustainability, but ensure as well that the theatre’s many unique historic features and attributes are protected and preserved to guarantee that the irreplaceable essence of Baltimore’s classic 1939 art deco jewel will endure for another 70 years and beyond!

This is not to say that The Senator Theatre should be ‘set in amber’ as there are many needed updates to the facility to enhance its multipurpose functions. But, these evolutionary changes must be carefully thought out and complimentary to a full restoration effort before being implemented. What good is an internationally recognized historic landmark if we allow it to be altered in untoward ways that historic theatre redevelopment experts would consider foolish?

In the hearts and minds of 1,400 members of the international FOTS community intently following The Senator situation, we had high hopes that BDC officials would understand the legacy, the future possibilities and the significance the theatre holds in our rich history and in our North Baltimore businesses and residential communities. The repeated refusal of the BDC to allow actively engage professional historic theatre and film exhibition industry experts to participate in the process interactive panel discussions must be seen for what it is, an obvious and potentially fatal flaw. One we will all sorely regret if it is not corrected!

Just as any right-minded fine jeweler would not entrust the hiring of a diamond cutter to someone without expert understanding (if not first-hand experience) of diamond-cutting, Baltimore should not award private new ownership or operation of Baltimore’s historic landmark theatre without the invaluable guidance of those with significant experience and expertise in the realm of historic theatre redevelopment. These experts exist and examples of their successes are serving communities like ours nationwide. This is not an opportunity to be wasted, especially when Baltimore City has already invested a significant amount in this situation!

We were honored to be asked to have a representative serve on the RFP Advisory Panel, however, until the these glaring flaws in the process are rectified the Friends of The Senator organization can no longer, in good conscience, continue to contribute to the process or give credence to its validity or outcome.

We do not make these statements lightly, nor do we wish for the process to be rendered invalid, so we beg that you give this situation the attention it deserves.

The Senator is an experience. One you can especially see reflected in the faces of those visiting for the first time and those of children. As a volunteer weekend staffer (for nearly a year now) I’ve taken note of this. Let’s do this right. At the end, how great would it be to have demonstrated to the world that Baltimore City not only respects its history, but cares enough to bring the appropriate expertise aboard to ensure that this wonderful, unique treasure has been given an optimal chance of survival for the enjoyment of countless generations to come?!

Thank you for your valuable time and thoughtful consideration of this matter.

Tom Harris
Friends of The Senator

Copies were also sent to news agencies including The Daily Record, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Messenger, Investigative Voice, etc.

SENATOR Theatre: Business and Residential Community Alert!

The following is a letter regarding important information that affects the RFP plans, from Tom Kiefaber, former owner of The SENATOR.

Re: The upcoming 2/19 auction sale of 446 Rosebank Avenue., located behind The Senator Theatre.

Dear Community Members and Senator Theatre patrons,

I am writing as the former owner of The Senator to inform the residents and business owners in the area and everyone concerned about the theatre’s endangered future that an auction sale of my property, located at 446 Rosebank Avenue, was recently scheduled for Friday, February 19th downtown. [notice attached] Please spread the word.

The property at 446 Rosebank Ave. is contiguous with the theatre property in the rear of the site and it is currently zoned residential. The rear parcel was purchased over 15 years ago to allow for The Senator’s expansion on its existing parcel as a way to overcome its limited single screen configuration and antiquated business model.

The sudden timing of the auction sale of 446 Rosebank Ave. on Friday the 19th is a potential game changer, because both of the contending Senator Theatre RFP’s under final consideration anticipate site control over the 446 parcel for the purpose that it was acquired years ago. The Rosebank parcel of land is a key contiguous element that’s common to both RFP’s, since it allows for the possibility of judicious, scaled additions to the historic structure to ensure its successful long term viability and thereby make possible its preservation in perpetuity.

Both pending Senator RFP’s plan expansions to be built that require control of 446 by the theatre’s new owner, yet the public and the media is unaware of the pivotal significance of this parcel to the RFP plans that they are so fervently endorsing.

It was assumed that after an RFP was chosen, the victor would seek to acquire 446 Rosebank Ave. and begin working in good faith with city planning and the community regarding the use of the property. Now that 446 is barreling towards an auction sale, however, it’s imperative that all concerned, including the neighborhood residents, businesses, the RFP teams, the BDC, our city council representative, and all concerned be aware of this development. This critical element of The Senator’s future viability needs to be better known and understood.

For the past 70 years, my family has approached our theatre endeavors as responsible, supportive members of the business and residential communities. We plan to exit stage right and resolve the past seven decades of owning The Senator as graciously as possible, once the complex logistical aspects of the ownership transition are fully accomplished.

The possible ramifications of the auction sale of the 446 property are complex, and we want to be responsive to all factions regarding The Senator and the RFP process, and at this stage we are attempting to keep all parties, including the area residents, as well-informed and on as level a playing field as possible. Please let us know if we can provide any additional information.

See you at The Senator!


Tom Kiefaber

Copy of first notification of auction:

February 04, 2010

Auction Baltimore City

Friedman & MacFadyen, Solicitors,210 E. Redwood Street,Baltimore, Maryland 21202,410-685-1763.

Substitute Trustees’ SaleOf Improved Real Property446 Rosebank Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21212

Under a power of sale contained in a certain Deed of Trust from Thomas A. Kiefaber, dated September 15, 1995 and recorded in Liber 5216, folio 147 among the Land Records of Baltimore City, MD, default having occurred under the terms thereof, the Sub. Trustees will sell at public auction at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, at the Clarence M. Mitchell Court House, Court House Door, Calvert Street entrance, on

February 19, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.

ALL THAT FEE-SIMPLE LOT OF GROUND AND THE IMPROVEMENTS THEREON situated in Baltimore City, MD and more fully described in the aforesaid Deed of Trust. The property is improved by a DWELLING. The property will be sold in an “as is” condition and subject to conditions, restrictions and agreements of record affecting the same, if any and with no warranty of any kind. Terms of Sale: A deposit of $10,000 by cash, or certified check. Balance of the purchase price to be paid in cash within ten days of final ratification of sale by the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Interest to be paid on the unpaid purchase money at the rate pursuant to the Deed of Trust Note from the date of sale to the date funds are received in the office of the Sub. Trustees. If the purchaser fails to go to settlement within ten days of the ratification, the deposit shall be forfeited to the Sub. Trustees and all of the expenses of this sale (including attorney fees and full commission on the gross sale price of the sale) shall be charged against and paid out of the forfeited deposit. Purchaser(s) acknowledge the obligation to settle within ten days of ratification of the foreclosure sale. In the event that settlement does not occur within ten days, the purchaser(s) shall be in default. Upon such default, Sub. Trustees shall file a Motion and Order to resell the property at the risk and expense of the defaulting purchaser(s). Purchaser(s) hereby consent to entry of such resale order without further notice. The defaulting purchaser(s) shall not be entitled to any surplus proceeds or profits resulting from any resale of the property. In the event settlement is delayed for any reason, including, but not limited to, exceptions to the sale, bankruptcy filings by interested parties, court administration of the foreclosure or unknown title defects, there shall be no abatement of interest. Taxes, ground rent, water and all public charges including electrical, sanitation and/or metropolitan district charges, if applicable, are to be adjusted for the current year to the date of sale and assumed thereafter by the purchaser. The purchaser is responsible for any amount in excess of $250.00 of outstanding water bills, if any, incurred prior to date of sale. Cost of all documentary stamps, transfer taxes and settlement expenses shall be borne by the purchaser. Purchaser shall be responsible for obtaining physical possession of the property. Purchaser assumes the risk of loss or damage to the property from the date of sale forward. If the Sub. Trustees are unable to convey good and marketable title, the purchaser’s sole remedy in law and equity shall be limited to a refund of the deposit. Purchaser agrees to pay $295.00 at settlement to seller’s attorney for review of the settlement documents. (Matter #544717)

SENATOR Theatre RFP: BDC Advisory Panel Requires Additional Meeting

The BDC Advisory Panel did meet yesterday, just a day after the public meeting, but apparently at least one more meeting will be necessary before their recommendation to the BDC board can be made.

While it is true that we (FoTS) have a member representing us on the panel, Laura Perkins, confidentiality rules have restricted what she can tell even us!

What she could say is that:

  • No decision could be made as to which of the 4 proposal plans the panel should be recommend to the BDC
  • At least one more meeting will be needed. The date is not yet known.
  • Questions, comments & opinions can, therefore, still be submitted, but should be done ASAP

So, keep using the list of Advisory Panel members we posted yesterday to keep your communications flowing to the people that best represent your feelings, community, etc.!

We favor the WTMD/Towson University plan. It includes the community-based, multipurpose arts, education & entertainment programming and non-profit ownership we’ve been advocating for over a year now. That said, we’d feel more comfortable if they could say they have historic theatre experts at the ready to assist with their planned “historically sensitive renovations”.

The plan presented by the Cuzacks (known for The Charles Theatre) is closest to what The Senator was and we wish it could always be, but we believe trying to keep it as a 1st run movie house (you heard right, they do not plan to make The Senator another “art film” house)  is no longer a viable business model for the last historic single-screen theatre in Baltimore. And, adding a couple of eateries, we don’t believe, can make up for that or regain droves of customers (There are plenty of great eateries within yards of The Senator already).

The record of successful, surviving historic theatres in the US shows the best model (if not backed by a major theatre chain) is like that presented by WTMD/TU.

SENATOR Theatre RFP: Public Meeting Tonight with 4 Competing for Ownership!

We can’t encourage people strongly enough

Be at The Senator tonight for the meeting at 6:30pm!

All four respondents to the BDC’s RFP will be on hand to make a brief presentation of their plans for the future of Baltimore’s last historic single-screen theatre.

The Lofts at The Senator (J.R. Owens Corporation)
The Senator Theatre, LLC (James & Kathleen Cusack)
The Theatre Project PUPKIDS, Inc. (Noch-Noch Productions)
WTMD at The Senator (Senator Theatre Redevelopmentl, LLC – Towson University)

You will have an opportunity to ask questions!

This is probably your best chance ever to have an influence on the future of this 70 year old landmark!

Speak now or live with the consequences

Doors will open at 6pm

Let leaders on the BDC Advisory Panel know your opinion regarding the best plan:

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 Minority/Women’s Business)
Larry Jenkins (Baltimore City Law Dept.)
Karen Noonan (Theatre Historical Society of America)
Laura Perkins (Friends of The SENATOR)

If you have any questions regarding this meeting,
contact Kristen Mitchell at the Baltimore
Development Corporation at

SENATOR Theatre RFP: BDC Jan 5th Public Meeting Reminder!

Updated Jan. 1, 2010 – “Each respondent will have 10 minutes to present, and then we will have Q&A for that particular proposal.  General Q&A and comments will be taken at the end of the meeting.” – Kristen Mitchell, BDC


– JANUARY 5, 2010 @ 6PM –

Join us at The SENATOR when the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) presents
a Public Meeting on the future of the theatre!

The purpose of this meeting is to give the public the
opportunity to hear from the groups which
responded to the Senator Theatre
Request for Proposals

The Lofts at The Senator (J.R. Owens Corporation)
The Senator Theatre, LLC (James & Kathleen Cusack)
The Theatre Project PUPKIDS, Inc. (Noch-Noch Productions)
WTMD at The Senator (Senator Theatre Redevelopmentl, LLC – Towson University)


 If you have any questions regarding this meeting,
contact Kristen Mitchell at the Baltimore
Development Corporation at


Admission is FREE
Doors open at 6PM
Meeting begins at 6:30PM 

Anyone with any interest in the future of this historic landmark should attend.
Spread the word and we’ll see you there!