Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Down Goes the Senator...Rotunda Next?

(photo courtesy The Baltimore Sun)

Last night the Senator Theatre closed, and with that the last of the true movie houses in Baltimore City. With $900,000 in unpaid loans, 1st Mariner Bank foreclosed on the 70 year old theatre.

What happens now? There are really only a few choices, a.) the trust for the theatre begs 1st Mariners for more time, 2.) get an investor or a few that will be willing to help out (so far no luck), or 3.) successfully turn the Senator into a non profit using money the city has offered to help pay off the loans. All of these are viable options, but unfortunately the Senator is supposed to go to the auction block next week, so there isn't much time!

With the Senator closing, the Rotunta Cinematheque, also owned by Tom Kiefaber, might close next week. This leaves Baltimore city with really only the Landmark in Harbor East and the Charles Theatre. The latter of which rarely shows mainstream movies, but is great to see Indie flicks!

Anyways, worst-case scenerio, the Senator closes for good, some developer buys the property and turns it into something else in the ever redeveloping of Belvedere Square. I think CHAP has a protection on the building, so they might not be able to tear it down. Best-case scenerio, John Waters swoops in, buys it, reopens it, and all is well. Maybe?

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