AMC Theaters at Towson Commons Closing

Towson Commons photo by Lizzy BrooksAccording to a Towson Patch article the original anchor tenant’s last day will be Friday, May 15 to make way for renovations.

[A new theater] is planned for the long-stalled Towson Circle III project, but until then movie lovers will have to trek to the Regal cinema in Hunt Valley, the AMC cinema in Owings Mills or The Senator Theatre in Govans to get their fill.

And, some more changes apparently are coming to the Belvedere Square retail area:

SENATOR Theatre: WTMD / TU Proposal Best Fit?

Dear Friends,

Towson UniversityAs you probably know by now the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) has received proposals from four organizations that desire to be the next occupant of The SENATOR. While we have yet had an opportunity to review the details of the proposal (waiting on the BDC to release them), the descriptions of that submitted by Towson University’s publicly supported radio station, WTMD, appear to echo many of the main points we’ve been advocating for The Senator:

  • Use of the theatre as a multipurpose venue
  • Let’s face it, folks. A single screen theatre in this day/age just can’t cut it as a first run movie house. We all have fond memories of seeing new feature films at The Senator, but the modern day financial and contractual realities have shown this model to be no longer feasible.
    That said, film and perhaps even a premiere or more are still in the cards down the road, but to make the most use of our beloved landmark theatre other programming must (and should be) included.
  • Community events
    These have been an integral part of The Senator’s history, although in the past they’ve been limited by the restrictive rules associated with being a first run movie house. Now that those bonds have been cut we have seen and hope to see many, many more!
    Note: stay tuned for announcement of the 19th Annual Holiday Double Feature & Food Drive!

As for the other proposals, see our “Senator Theatre RFP Proposals Info” page for highlights drawn from media accounts.

The bottom line, as we currently see it, is that the WTMD/T.U. proposal is the only one that is a viable contender against the Cusack’s. Their plan proposes to alter the existing auditorium and includes addition of two eateries flanking the theatre which could potentially have a negative impact on existing local businesses. Theatre patrons would be encouraged to stay on the property rather than explore neighborhood businesses. This should be food for thought for the local business owners and the Govanstowne Business Association (GBA).

Now, we would like to know what you think!

Tom Harris, FoTS Ambassador

SENATOR Theatre RFP: 4 Seek Winning Bid

Updated Nov. 23, 2009

The BDC’s Request For Proposals (RFP) closed yesterday at noon.

According an article by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach of The Baltimore Sun, here are the known contenders:

The fourth party is not yet public, but is expected to be revealed Monday.

Particular points of interest to us in this article:

Kim Clark, executive vice president of the BDC, said Friday that there would be a public presentation of the proposals…
“The worst case would be if the public falls in love with one of them, and that one is not financially viable,” she said. “In my mind, that would be horrible.”

. . .

Cordish, who has repeatedly said he “would run the theater as a public service or a trust,” confirmed that he filed a proposal, but did not provide any details.

Last we heard, publicly, from the Cordish group they stated they would only step into the BDC process “if the city is stuck“. Everyone is entitled to change their mind, of course, but the fact that no details are offered causes nearly as much concern as the secrecy of the fourth proposal submission. We will be very interested to see what the Cordish Company has in mind!
. . .

Cusack… would keep the Senator as a single-screen movie theater. But he would also add a restaurant on its north side… and a crepes shop on its south side.

“I’m also talking to a children’s-services provider… about using the auditorium for children’s activities from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when the theater is closed.” According to Cusack, a triangular area in the southern part of the property contains enough space for another screen… operating it would require a partner who would use that space for other purposes, such as art education.

While the thought of keeping The Senator a single screen movie house sounds wonderful, it’s been shown time and again that the model doesn’t hold up in this day and age… Can a private owner keep it going by renting the spaces out to restaurateurs and educational programs?

Stay tuned & as always, feel free to chime in here and/or on Facebook!

From the news desks…

Additional: Rotunda Cinemateque will not re-open

B’more art community hit hard by stormy economy
“But perhaps the most palpable arts-related casualty of the economy in Baltimore is the imminent demise of the longstanding Senator Theatre. …”

Baltimore filmmaker John Waters

Baltimore filmmaker John Waters

For those who wonder why John Waters doesn’t buy The Senator:

  • Frederick News Post: A date with John Waters: Filthy, but a nice guy
    The venerable Senator Theatre in North Baltimore, where Waters premiers his films, is in danger of closing and he admitted that is a little disconcerting. He’s also concerned about other losses in the new media, like newspapers”
  • Balto. Sun: Waiting to know the fate of The Senator Theatre
    Unfortunately, this isn’t Hollywood, and none of the city’s celluloid sons have ever expressed an interest in running the Senator, no matter how much they all love it. Says Waters, invoking the name of a shuttered X-rated movie house on Belair Road, “If I do anything, I would go back and open the Earle.”

Towson Univ. listener supported radio

Towson Univ. radio

The Towerlight: WTMD interested in Senator Theatre

Umm… Check me if I’m wrong, folks, but where would they get the money for this with the university system having to tighten its belt? While we’re at it, why would the community need/want a 2nd “Recher Theatre” in the area?
I’m thinking it would be a better idea if shared the multipurpose entertainment vision proposed by The Senator Community Trust and helped move that initiative forward.

Even the multiplexes having trouble?
http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bal-mall-theater0323,0,3147046.story
Muvico sells the Arundel Mills “Egyptian” theatre to stave off foreclosure.
Admittedly a cool looking place on the surface, but still a chain. Nowhere near The Senator Theatre vibe.

Edward E. Eyring, general contractor (E. Eyring & Sons Co.), passes.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/obituaries/bal-md.ob.eyring27mar27,0,5070699.story
Excerpts:

His father, Edward Eyring, headed the company from 1932 until his death in 1964. Mr. Eyring succeeded his father and operated the company until 1977, when he retired and closed the business.
In addition to convents, rectories and commercial buildings, the company built the Senator Theatre, St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church, the chapel at St. Mary’s Seminary & University on Roland Avenue, St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, Emmanuel Lutheran Church and Chizuk Amuno.

Our condolences to the Eyring family.