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Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

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Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

Old 03-12-09, 12:22 PM
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Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

from Cinema Treasures:

Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close
posted by JodarMovieFan on March 12, 2009 8:00am

BALTIMORE, MD — A press release was issued today that puts the future of Baltimore’s Senator Theatre in doubt.

“We just received notice that accelerated foreclosure is proceeding, said Senator owner Tom Kiefaber.

On top of that, Baltimore City’s transition steering committee apparently given up on the non-profit proposal, even though community leaders formed The Senator Community Trust and asked to become that non-profit owner. One member of the committee said,

“We have looked at many examples for a nonprofit and not one of them exists without considerable subsidy. That is not possible in today’s environment.”

Read the press release in its entirety at Reuters.

Updates will be posted at Friends of the Senator.
Old 03-12-09, 01:12 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

Too bad. The Senator was a great place to watch movies. I think the last movie I saw there was the midnight showing of Spidey 3. Funny, because I can sum up Spidey 3 and the Senator closing with the same word... disappointing.

Why can't they make this a historical landmark? It's really one of the few nice things Baltimore has left. Granted, the Senator is in one of the shitter neighborhoods now but that doesn't mean it's not a Baltimore landmark.

IIRC, the Senator was about to close back in 2007 but they were able to scrape up enough money to keep it going. I may be mistaken but I remember reading a lot of flack in the papers that the owner wasn't really the best buisness man around and his failures are a big part of why it was closing in the first place. I can't shed much more light on it, but maybe someone else can.
Old 03-12-09, 01:27 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

well here's the Cinema Treasure page for the Senator:

Senator Theatre - Cinema Treasure

and yes, this is not the first time this has happened. Donations were made once before, and given how the situation really didn't solve the problem. I think folk are a tad relunctant in helping out this time around. But I really don't want to bad mouth the situation.

"The theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also considered one of the most endangered theatres in the country. "

how ironic? ... if it's on the National Register isn't it technically safe from demolition?
Old 03-18-09, 09:03 AM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

new news:

Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber is "months" behind in loan payments to 1st Mariner Bank, the bank's chairman and chief executive confirmed yesterday. And with federal regulators pressuring the bank to get its own fiscal house in order, officials there had little choice but to call the loan and schedule a foreclosure auction.

"The guy's in arrears big-time," Ed Hale said. "He hasn't paid for months."

With the likelihood of a mid-April foreclosure auction looming, potential bidders for the Senator, a North Baltimore landmark since 1939, have started to surface.

James "Buzz" Cusack, who runs the Charles theater with his nephew, John Standiford, said he expected to be among the bidders.



Related links

Ed Hale
Senator Theatre could be auctioned
Talk about it: Senator Theatre could be auctioned
The Senator Theatre Photos
Sun coverage: Senator Theatre Developer David Cordish, while saying he had no plans to bid on the theater, said he would be interested in operating it as a nonprofit.

"The main mission would be to continue as a first-run movie theater," Cordish wrote in an e-mail, adding, "it's extremely important to the community and we would do so as a civic contribution."

Baltimore Deputy Mayor Andrew Frank confirmed yesterday that the city has heard from prospective owners who would be interested in purchasing the Senator and continuing to operate it as a movie theater. He declined to elaborate further.

1st Mariner has been badly hurt by the continuing mortgage crisis, and is being urged by regulators to improve its capital ratios and address nonperforming loans such as the Senator's.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, the bank's parent company, First Mariner Bancorp, reported losses of $9.06 million, or 43 cents a share.

Hale said he is scheduled to meet with regulators today.

"The FDIC and the Federal Reserve are going to come in here," Hale said, "and they're going to want to know, 'What are you doing about this?' We have people to answer to."

The Senator owes 1st Mariner about $900,000, although much of that loan has been guaranteed by Baltimore City. First Mariner could lose between $300,000 and $400,000 if the money is not paid back, Hale said.

1st Mariner had planned a foreclosure of the Senator in February 2007, but the auction was called off after Kiefaber was able to raise nearly $110,000, mostly through contributions from patrons
Old 03-18-09, 09:37 AM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

Anyone have about 3 mil to invest? This theater would probably do well if it was changed to be like the Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Texas. The area it is in gets a lot of college traffic.

Shame it has gotten so bad for the theater. I caught one of the last showings of Watchmen there. Hopefully it gets sold and is reborn in a more successful venue.
Old 03-18-09, 10:07 AM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

and it was just listed as one of the 10 Best Theaters in America by Moving Pictures magazines:

The Senator Theatre, Baltimore, Md. "Elegant and grand," according to Noonan, this 70-year-old Art Moderne gem has state-of-the-art projection and sound; is a favorite of Maryland natives Barry Levinson, John Waters and Edward Norton; and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989. Many patrons adore The Senator for its strict "no children under the age of 5" policy. "The mix of films (chosen by owner Tom Kiefaber) is wide-ranging, and that marquee lit up at night makes the heart race just a bit faster," says Noonan.
Old 03-18-09, 01:16 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

Originally Posted by Goat3001 View Post
IIRC, the Senator was about to close back in 2007 but they were able to scrape up enough money to keep it going. I may be mistaken but I remember reading a lot of flack in the papers that the owner wasn't really the best buisness man around and his failures are a big part of why it was closing in the first place. I can't shed much more light on it, but maybe someone else can.
You're right on both accounts.
Old 03-18-09, 01:36 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

^ well yeah, he's in arrears and owes $900,000, as mentioned in the couple news blurbs I've posted. It really sounds like he dug his own grave... er, hole. Unlike say, the AFI Silver and Uptown, the Senator use to have 8-channel SDDS sound, which sounded incredible (i.e, 'Immortal Beloved' and 'Sense and Sensibility') it was definately worth the trip up to see and hear a movie.
Old 03-18-09, 03:56 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

It was in danger of closing around a year ago as well, but was helped out. Guess it didn't last...
Old 03-18-09, 04:36 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

I was hoping to see Watchmen when i'm in Baltimore next weekend, looks like that can't happen now.
Old 03-24-09, 02:27 PM
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Re: Baltimore's Historic Senator Theatre expected to close

here's a good blog of the recent attempts to converting to non-profit status/donation requests:

http://www.astrogirlguides.com/

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