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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bethlehem Boyd Blighted

Though Bethlehem's Boyd Theatre was recently sold for $1.35 million, the Planning Commission added it to its roster of blighted properties at their January 14 meeting. Chief Building Inspector Craig Hynes made the recommendation after noting that the property, located at 30-40 W. Broad Street, has been vacant for four to six years.A leaking roof forced the City to close three businesses located at the site. He added that a blighted designation might provide a loan advantage to its new owner.

That new owner is Bethlehem- Boyd LP.  The members of this limited partnership include Charles C. Jefferson, a prominent real estate investor from Philadelphia; and Duane A. Wagner, a Lehigh Valley real estate advisor. The propertry was transferred on New Year's Eve and is encumbered by a $1.18 million mortgage to People's Security Bank and Trust.

Interestingly, Wagner is also associated with developer Lewis Ronca, and was involved in much of the communicatrions with Bethlehem City staffers that led to a new zoning ordinance at the Martin Tower development.

It has been speculated that City officials were willing to give Martin Tower favorable zoning in exchange for Ronca's agreement to transfer a CRIZ designation for a portion of his 52-acre development. That CRIZ designation enables Ronca to uses state sales and income taxes to finance development.

At a December news conference, Mayor Donchez specifically denied that there was deal to give Ronca favorable zoning in exchange for a few CRIZ acres.

The Boyd was first established in 1921. It became known as The Boyd Theatre in 1934.It has been closed since 2011.

Under Pennsylvania law, a blight designation is the first step in a long process that could lead to taking over the property.

Other properties declared blighted by the Planning Commission are 1515 E 6th St, 635 Fifth Ave, 816 E. 5th St, 704 Wyandotte St and 3681 Township Line Rd.

Updated 1:17 pm

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

What? no heads up to the public?
Are we supposed to sniff this crap out? What is up with the city? There is a sizable number of residents that would love to see the theater part leased to a theater owner like the guy from the Roxy in Northampton to bring back movies. Not brand new but a few months old kind.

This has been brought up by citizens and non-residents alike many times but of course without cash in hand, they are not heard.

Anonymous said...

This should have happened years ago. Why wasn't it done when Moravian was interested. this smells of an inside job by the not so transparent so called administration and the barefoot contessa.

Anonymous said...

If this is the beginning of the "long" process to take over the boyd, is that the plan for the new buyer from initial purchase? Declare a tax Loss?

Anonymous said...

Who is the new buyer? Suspect a deeper story here.

Anonymous said...

No comment from the hidden mayor his pretend dced.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Keep digging!

Anonymous said...

Allentowns infectious infection of the pussie boil drawn to a head with a piece baco has inflamed the zit to the east holding off of comming to a head with the grant grab get to give back specialists and the palumpa props of the writter that writ with the same OZ behind the curtian with the real property circus twist of stand in said property owner developer extraordinair¿!($ The pinto expereance is yet to come as job desription of said solictors job description is to protect and serve the public against the administration not to collude and delude the people into the nue nue nue ReNue circus illutionists trix claiming positives in this particular tool employeed for the transformational regression into the darkages milleniumised to maximize personal gain of a few while the reel infastructure suffers reprehencible crimes ommited¿!($

So hopping the circus snakeoil sales people stories are put to print for one and all to be ostrasized to the sinking fictisious boat they created as a selling pitch powerpoint express train to nowhere¿!($

redd for Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

I wonder,, if that fantastic "good guy" mayor and his untrustworthy, deceitful, city council, know who the new buyer is . There is more to this issue than the pathetic city govt / city council hacks want you to know. More democrat transparency ?

Anonymous said...

booby d is a good guy. Probably the guy you would like as your next door neighbor. Just don't loan him you tools.

Anonymous said...

Raise money and buy the place. Can't believe the idiots that are OUTRAGED that a property was being bought and developed by someone getting tax advantages.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Duane Wagner, an associate of Lew Wagner, is one of the buyers. I will be doing a story about that as well.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS: Main St. merchants upset that they were not consulted about the sale and kept out of the loop. LOL.

I don't know who or what is buying this place, but THANK YOU! It used to be a amazing place to go and I am sure it will be once it's fixed up again. The renovation of the Boyd is long over due and will bring new life to that end of Broad St. and the surrounding businesses.

Anonymous said...

I hope whoever purchased the Boyd makes it a great family place.

Anonymous said...

Bob is a good guy, and that's totally besides the point.

Anonymous said...

What does the Mayor or City Council have to do with a PRIVATE REALESTATE matter? I do not understand the bashing of a group of people, why not bash the last owner who closed it and never made repairs, or do you think city taxpayer money should be used to fix all distressed properties? I for one dont think that we should do that.

1:22am you really need to stay on your Meds

Anonymous said...

12:04 I agree with u. These people who think they have the right to get involved with private sales are out of their minds. They would never want or allow the city involved in the sale of their own private property.

Anonymous said...

The Boyd will never be a theatre again. It will cost millions to restore it. $5 tickets and $4 tubs of popcorn will never repay that debt. Have great memories of the Boyd as well as the other three movie theaters in Bedlum while growing up there. But it is history.

Anonymous said...

12:04, 1:57,
It's call economic and community development. Obviously you don't understand the concept any more than donchez or karner do. I can explain it to you but I can't make you understand it. Your loss as well as the city's.

Frank Baran said...

It’s no wonder that the Boyd Theater sat empty for so long. It didn’t generate ticket sales. People prefer visiting multi-screen complexes that offer variety. A family can split up, with the adults going to one movie and the kids going to another. At the Boyd, you had no choice. Either you saw the film you wanted to see or you stayed home. This sort of thing might work at SteelStacks, which caters to an upscale clientele. But within a general population, profits for single-screen theaters are rare. In any event, the movie theater in general is a mature industry, with medium to low growth prospects in the long run. Cable, satellite TV and other online platforms are cutting into the industry’s business. Bethlehem has to get out of this mindset of living in the 1970s. Times change. Maybe we baby-boomers ought to move to retirement communities rather than try to relive our early adulthood.

Anonymous said...

3:35,

Still the apologist for the failed mayor and council. Yes you should have a bowel movement frank.

Anonymous said...

Big Sigh!!! Frank, apparently you have never visited the Roxy theater in Northampton, or visited Austin, Lansdowne, Albany, etc. The idea of niche theaters are far from a "retirement community" concept but rather has become a popular trend. If your argument had merit, why would people hassle with parking and high prices to go to Main Street, Bethlehem? It is called "atmosphere".

Many people go and will continue to go to the multiplex for many. many reasons. Also many folks will continue to hate going due to lines, indifferent service, crowds and noise. The example put forth by the poster at 1:22 has validity. Small single screen multi-purpose theaters can and do succeed and are self-sustaining. The former owner of the Boyd was batshit crazy and ran first run top tier movies. The Roxy and other theaters run new releases but after their first go around at tremendously reduced prices. They are popular for the same reason that "quaint" downtowns are popular. They also complement areas like downtown Bethlehem with its numerous eateries. Bay-boomer and disenchanted millennials and their children are enjoying these smaller, nicer theaters.

So if you want to get out of the,"mindset of the 1970's" you should never go downtown; however, if you are forward thinking it is something to consider. Also no one has suggested the new owner(s) should run the theater, just lease out the space if someone is interested. The "Boyd" is a huge property with multiple uses, a theater is merely one use of a part of the entire building.

Bill Kean

Anonymous said...

Also unlike Steelstacks these theaters generally have ticket prices lower than the multiplex and draw people across income lines.

BK

Stumpy said...

Word on the street is that the Green Door on Pembroke Rd has been looking to expand and has it's sights set on the Boyd. As a member of the local swinger community this development has me very excited, the Green Door has been a vital social hub for me after the death of my giant schnauzer Adolf.

michael molovinsky said...

one of the most incredible theaters in the valley was the former globe, in south bethlehem. it's possible that i'm one of the few people still around who was ever in it, for two reasons. the first being that the theater was closed for decades before it burned down in the early 80's, and secondly, my uncle owned it, giving me access. he had captured a famous escaped convict who was hiding in the vast former vaudeville theater, and it's generally believed that his associates on the "outside", burned the theater down in retaliation.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Bernie "MANSLAB" alert!!!!

Reliable sources have stated they have seen the ruby red Camaro of one James Gregory at a local fast food joint. Word is he is out on the street. Maybe a few weeks early release. Please, please verify.

Men and women alike must know the truth. The salvation of not only Bethlehem but the entire Lehigh Valley is at stake.

Has our political and religious savior returned???

Bernie O'Hare said...

Listen, stop wasting everyone's time with these Gregory comments. Thdey stopped being funny some time ago. His car was repossessed long ago, and the Pa State inmate locator tells me he is still in Pittsburgh. He does not need you to make a fool of him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, I had never even known about the other Boyd until you posted your very interesting comment. Were the arsonists ever caught?

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i do not believe that they were. it was a unique building, in that it contained apartments, as well as the theater. although my uncle rented the apartments, for years he tried to talk lehigh into partnering on the restoration of the theater.

Guy Williams said...

Wonder if the Boyd was ever considered as the new home for PA Playhouse. If the refit is possible would be a nice addition to downtown.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Globe fondly...and the Collage Theater.

Anonymous said...

11:21 PM

I went to both theaters frequently, also the Nile Theater. The Nile was just a few doors west of the Bethlehem Boyd. But, the local granddaddy of them all back then (to me) was Allentown's Colonial.

For my fellow geezer, Mike Molovinsky . . . perhaps you will remember Allentown's Towne Theater at 6th & Gordon. As a boy, I went there on Saturdays. They showed 3 full features (usually horror flicks) plus cartoons for 20 cents! They even had a rotating hot dog machine. Each dog was 25 cents. I never had the money for both, but was amazed that one damn dog actually cost more than seeing 3 movies! If I remember correctly, the Towne was owned/managed by the late Al Moffa (Americus Hotel). The line outside stretched around the corner and down Gordon Street about 50 yards.

Such innocent times!

Fred Windish

michael molovinsky said...

fred@3:28, i actually had done a post on the theaters of allentown, perhaps i'll repost it soon. i recently told o'hare that my time as a dour and misguided political blogger is ending, now that the targets of my scrutiny are being indicted. although, it was my intention to follow a certain family of ducks on their journey through the little lehigh, i may instead ramp up the history department.

Anonymous said...

If Blighting means the city can buy it then the city should buy Martin Tower before the wrecking ball comes. Ronca blighted that building by pulling the plug on the heat and AC and gets rewarded with our tax money from the State to tear it down---what a joke!!

Anonymous said...

Does the Boyd look like the old Allentown Colonial theater inside?

Dave said...

Bethlehem had several large theaters in the 1930s

The College Theater
The Boyd Theater (was originally called The Colonial)
The Globe Theater
The Palace Theater
The Nile Theater (was originally called the Savoy)

All of these had large auditoriums, with a capacity of over 1,000 people each. The Boyd was around 1,500 - 1,700 people.

The Boyd is the last one left

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I remember walking down to the old southside theater with my mom from our apartment on West Third Street, in the old Wilbur mansion. We saw Bambi there, and I think The Ten Commandments, and Charley's Aunt...What a great life it was, when people could walk to the movie theater, the library, the drug store, the butcher shop, the grocery store, the post office, the fish monger -- that place with eels in a barrel -- and to school and to church, and to grandma's house, and a zillion other places. No traffic, no gas stations, no sitting on our butts all day in the car. What we have now is anything BUT progress, at least in my opinion. Crazy Old Lady