Baltimore’s Senator Theatre to Close
HISTORIC LANDMARK HEADED TO AUCTION AND UNCERTAIN FUTURE
“We just received notice that accelerated foreclosure is proceeding, said Senator owner
Results from recent round table discussions, online forums and town meetings demonstrated strong support among Baltimore’s business and residential communities for the theatre to remain open as ownership transitions from Kiefaber to a new non-profit, community owned entity. Historic theatres nationwide have undergone non-profit conversion to expand educational and entertainment programming and ensure their preservation.
In response to Kiefaber’s advocacy of community ownership of The Senator, leaders from across
A town hall meeting will be held at The Senator on
Kiefaber has agreed to a request from The Senator Community Trust to make the theatre available for the town meeting as an open forum to provide the public with the facts and discuss how this situation is likely to affect The Senator and the extended community. The Trust has invited city and state officials and members of the city’s ad hoc Senator Steering Committee. All concerned are welcome and encouraged to attend.
A recent public offer by Mayor Dixon’s office to Kiefaber is intended to reduce the theatre’s debt and facilitate The Senator’s conversion to non-profit ownership as a proviso of the deal. “I have notified the city of my acceptance of their offer, but the details are yet to be resolved. It’s an involved process that’s being pressured by the foreclosure timeline,” Kiefaber said.
There has been much public speculation regarding the city’s offer to Kiefaber, which is conditioned on the city’s determination that a non-profit Senator Theatre is sustainable. In an apparent contradiction of the stated terms of the offer, that pivotal decision may have been made already.
According to a member of the city’s Senator Theatre steering committee, “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.” In reference to the newly formed Senator Community Trust, the representative added, “If the Trust wishes an active role, they should begin raising the several hundred thousand [dollars] required to bid at auction. There are likely to be excellent and well-financed bidders there and it’s my guess that is likely to be where we are in a few short weeks.”
“I don’t presume to speak to the city’s intentions,” Brescia added, “They need to speak for themselves. There seems to be a lot of confusion about their perspective and the participation of city officials at Monday’s town meeting would greatly benefit public understanding of the situation. In any case, the theatre is headed rapidly to auction. It’s now up to people to make their voices heard and ask the city to follow through on their offer if the community wants to have any say in the Senator’s uncertain future.”
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