"It was one of those moments that would have had dramatic music if my life were a movie, but instead I got a radio jingle for some kind of submarine sandwich blaring over the store's ambient stereo. Man, the movie of my life must be really low-budget." Dead Beat
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Does anyone want to email A. D. Amorosi pictures of the Royal Theater and other Universal "developments" and ask him why he felt Kenny Gamble was deserving of this blow job of an article? How embarrassing when Philly Mag does harder hitting pieces on Gamble than City Paper.
What a bunch of BS. I can't believe that dude said that with a straight face.It's the way that they give back — Gamble's community activism and housing development through his Universal Companies, in particular — that appeals to Itkin, as well. "You hear about Bono and DiCaprio causes every day," he notes. "But you don't hear much about Gamble and Huff, who help rebuild their city daily, guys who have attained great wealth and put their money where their consciousness is. They stayed in Philly. That's something. It is that rich history, story and songs that we have to tell."
So I'm just getting started around here in following Philly politics. I obviously have been reading the threads about Kenny Gamble. I had no idea until reading this last post that it is Kenny Gamble of Gamble and Huff fame. Unreal.
In my humble but educated opinion, saving the facade in a fashion suggested in the meeting would cost $500,000- $1,000,000 (numbers not pulled out of my ass...promise). I have personal experience saving similar facades and the cost of bolting a facade with steel beams is inordinately expensive. There simply is not a more expensive solution than sheering off the entire rear of the building and leaving the facade.
The notion that this was the most economic approach is laughable. No structural engineers or competent architects could have possibly assisted in this absurd design.
On the record, developers HAVE provided Universal above market offers to purchase The Royal. It can be rehabilitated and it's highest and best use is as a mixed-use development....not as a bunch of town homes.
Just dug up some photos I took inside the Royal during a "Hidden Philadelphia" event, in June 2009...
Royal Theater pictures by PhillyLolly - Photobucket
HIDDENCITY PHILADELPHIA :: REDISCOVER OUR CITY'S HERITAGE
ETA - From the above:
The Royal Theater, called "American's Finest Colored Photoplay House", upon its 1920 opening, was the first black-run theater in the city. The theater became a beacon for the African-American entertainment sector on South Street. Patrons regularly filled the theater's 1,200 seats to see acts like Fats Waller and Bessie Smith. Patrons also loved the films at the Royal, which included films shot at local Colored Pictures Film Corporation. The first staff of the theater went on to become the nucleus of the Negro Motion Pictures Operators Union. The community was closely tied to the theater. Neighborhood residents were the Royal's most loyal patrons and participated in talent shows and radio broadcasts. Business owners received increased foot traffic after Royal shows. But by the 1960s, the threat of the construction of an expressway in the neighborhood (that never materialized) and Civil rights legislation, which allowed blacks to move freely and patronized other entertainment venues, decimated the Royal's neighborhood and attendance. The Royal closed its doors in 1970. The Royal deteriorated quickly: trees sprouted from its masonry and moisture destroyed the interior. Urban decay took hold of the neighborhood by the 1980s, with drugs and empty lots becoming staples of the neighborhood. By the early 1990s, the Royal was up for demolition. But the demolition request spurred new interest in the Royal: but for years, an owner was hard to come by. Finally, by 2000, native Philadelphian Kenny Gamble purchased the theater; Gamble hopes to rehabilitate it. Meanwhile, the resurgent neighborhood has new small businesses and homeowners. Perhaps the Royal's resurgence will follow.
VIEW HISTORICAL TIMELINE
Last edited by Lolly; 06-26-2011 at 06:44 PM.
I guess he didn't get the $30 million in state money afterall. Hey though, I'm for it. Market rate housing with retail sounds great to me, and it includes parking. Most of that structure is totally busted anyway, the historical designation is a pain in the ass, and if they can save the facade then great. Let's get that thing off the eye-sore list, and let the guy develop it.
Hey so naked Philly has some updated pics, and they think the Royal Theater is just about ready to collapse.
Link: Wishes Do Come True: The Royal Theater Looks Ready to Collapse | NakedPhilly
Are there any repurcussions for neglecting a building with historical designation?
I would say that this condo owner's dwelling is the real jerk hut, but given that sounds that are unnoticeable on the ground can be heard quite clearly at a higher elevation the same distance away, the noise may well have been objectionably loud on the 20whatever floor. But I imagine some sort of workable compromise could have been reached.
Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
Editor-in-Chief, Philadelphia Real Estate Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008
The photos of the Royal in an earlier post were taken June, 2011 and, as you can clearly see, there are trees growing out of the roof. I have recently walked by the Royal and have noticed that the facade is becoming seriously damaged by water. The facade of the building was the only part of the structure that Universal said was important to preserve since it has such historical importance and that it would be salvageable in a recent community meeting.
Apparently, Universal does not care if the Royal collapses, they're just interested in the value of the lot where the Royal now stands and the two adjoining properties that Universal owns on both sides of the theater.
Last edited by topogigio; 08-30-2011 at 08:09 PM.
I guess it was a bunch of posturing and he's really just out for money.
"imagination and memory are but one thing, which for diverse considerations hath diverse names" - Thomas Hobbes
Stupid question, does anyone or any agency of any part of the government audit the money that Gamble received for this project ? Or is this rehab on the honor system ?
The Royal continues to deteriorate as Gamble and Universal come up with more excuses as to why they haven't done anything to restore the property.
Royal disappointment: Historic theater languishes in Gamble's hands | Philadelphia Daily News | 10/19/2011
Philly Mag had an article about this four years ago: King Kenny - Philadelphia Magazine - phillymag.com
Lisa Parsley was spot on:
Other residents say that Universal, once it acquires properties, moves too slowly to develop them, and so actually contributes to blight. South Philly activist Lisa Parsley, for instance, gnaws on Universal like a determined dog with a bone. She tracks the company’s business dealings, tax payments and development progress; she says Universal may have done good for South Philly long ago, but now it’s holding back development and even fostering crime. She offers the Royal Theater on South between 15th and 16th as an example: Universal acquired it in 2000, and she says the company promised to renovate it. But all they’ve done — visibly, at least — is paint a mural on the front.
"It's good to have a blighted building in the middle of a world-class city. That's what sets us apart from places like New York."
Last edited by Jay from Philly; 10-19-2011 at 11:25 AM.
"It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
Jonathan Safran Foer