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Old 06-30-2006, 01:41 PM   #1
Mike
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Emerson College's Paramount Center

BRA approves Emerson College's Paramount Center project
Boston Business Journal - 1:23 PM EDT Friday


The Boston Redevelopment Authority has approved Emerson College's $77 million, 145,000-square-foot mixed-use Paramount Center project.

The project, in Boston's Downtown Crossing neighborhood, still needs approval from the city's Zoning Commission before construction can begin. If the project is approved, construction will start this summer and the project is slated to be completed in two years.

The three-building project includes the Paramount Theatre building, the Arcade building and a 9,500-square-foot parcel known as the "North Lot" at the rear of the site.

The Arcade Building at 543-547 Washington St. will see 145,000 square feet of new construction, including a 150-seat restaurant, a scene shop, classrooms, faculty offices, practice rooms and 1,900 square feet of rehearsal rooms. It will also include a sound stage, a 140-seat black box theatre and film screening room, and four floors of dormitory for 262 students.

Emerson has committed to preserving as much of the historic but dilapidated Paramount Theatre as possible. The 32,000-square-foot theatre will be renovated and re-equipped to support theatrical, dance and musical productions. The 550-seat venue will be used in partnership between Emerson College and a consortium of nonprofit arts organizations in cooperation with the city of Boston.

First announced in April 2005 by Mayor Thomas Menino, Emerson College and Millennium Partners, the Paramount Center project is being designed by Elkus/Manfredi Architects Ltd. of Boston and consultants Auerbach, Pollock, Friedlander of New York.



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Old 06-30-2006, 02:52 PM   #2
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From Emerson's website http://www.emerson.edu/news/index.cfm#4552



Quote:
News and Events

Redevelopment Agency Approves Emerson's Paramount Center Plan
06/29/06

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has unanimously approved Emerson College?s plan to build a new performing arts and residence complex on Lower Washington Street, several blocks from the center of campus. Known as the Paramount Center, the 180,000 square foot complex will include a renovated Paramount Theatre that will be converted for live performance use, a new black box theater, a film screening room, a scene shop, multiple rehearsal and practice rooms, classrooms, faculty offices, and housing for some 260 students. A commercial restaurant will be located on the street level.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino issued a statement praising the BRA vote and Emerson?s ongoing contributions to the city. ?I applaud Emerson?s confidence in our downtown; their plans for a new residence hall will add life and vitality and help make Downtown Crossing a 24-hour neighborhood,? he said. ?Perhaps most of all, we celebrate the incredible victory in the redevelopment of our beloved Paramount Theatre.

The $77 million project, which has already been enthusiastically endorsed by the city Landmark?s Commission, still needs approval from the Zoning Commission. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2006 and be completed in the fall of 2008.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:19 PM   #3
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Re

What the hells going on this week? Did someone from here light a fire under the BRA's collective ass, because craps happening and I do not hate it.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:23 PM   #4
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Re: Re

Quote:
Originally Posted by budman3
What the hells going on this week? Did someone from here light a fire under the BRA's collective ass, because craps happening and I do not hate it.
No shit. Maybe they are hoping all the NIMBYs are away on vacation this week!

I'm excited for this project. I don't really care for the glass hat on the Arcade building, but if thats what it takes to make the building functional, I'll live with it.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:30 PM   #5
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I would like them to stop calling it the 'Arcade building', after an amusement arcade that was its most recent tenant. The building's proper name is 'Bijou', for a theatre that operated in it from 1882 to 1943. The theatre portion was demolished around 1951, as was the old B.F. Keith theatre behind it.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:36 PM   #6
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^^ Were there two B.F. Keiths? Because the Opera House was the B.F. Keith Memorial right?
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Old 06-30-2006, 04:01 PM   #7
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There was only one person with that name, but there was more than one theatre. The B.F. Keith Memorial was built after his death (hence its name) to replace the first B.F. Keith's Theatre. That first theatre continued operating under other names (Lyric, Apollo, Normandie, Laffmovie) but finally closed around 1951.

To confuse things further, the Boston Theatre was demolished to make way for the Keith Memorial. It was replaced by the RKO Boston (later Boston Cinerama, Essex, Star) which now sits empty in the 600 Washington-Essex building, a block away.

And, oh yes, RKO stands for Radio-Keith-Orpheum. The current WRKO radio station is somehow a distant descendant of this once-mighty entertainment chain.
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:26 PM   #8
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I did email the mayor, earlier this week, concerning civic pride and told him I thought all this building was good for the city. Yes. I'm responsible for all this. How will you ever thank me? :lol:
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:37 PM   #9
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I'm really liking Emerson and all their projects. They have done sooo much for the theater district. Someone should go over there and talk to them about the RKO.
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Old 06-30-2006, 10:46 PM   #10
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Some old photos of the site:

From down the street.
[/img]

From the sidewalk. Sorry, I think my finger got in the way...
[/img]

Is this the "North Lot" they're talking about? The rendering looks like the lot stays, but it would be great if it goes. This is my top "surface lot in Boston I wish was put to better use".
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Old 06-30-2006, 10:50 PM   #11
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No. The 'North Lot' is where the B.F. Keith theatre stood until about 1951. It is behind the Opera House and Paramount, on Mason Street. Much of it now appears to be a loading dock for the Opera House, so I'm very curious how they are going to shoehorn a new building in there.

The parking lot in your photo is 'Hayward Place' which is supposed to be developed by Millennium Partners. There have been both office and residential proposals in the past, and I'm not sure what their current plan is.

To the right of that parking lot, in the white building (600 Washington-Essex), is the stage of the now-vacant RKO Boston theatre.
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Old 07-01-2006, 12:01 AM   #12
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http://cinerama.topcities.com/boston.htm
Pictures from inside the Cinerama, aka RKO Boston.
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Old 07-01-2006, 12:25 AM   #13
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They are going to need more than that to make it a place that stays active for 24 hrs. Something like shutting down DTC much later than thier usual 7 pm closing time.
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:18 AM   #14
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Emerson can't and shouldn't take over all of Downtown Crossing. This development will help a lot. Its immediate effect may be to help fill the empty spaces next door at Millennium Place (Ritz Towers) and up the street at Lafayette Place.
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:07 AM   #15
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The name Arcade Building does immediately locate it in the minds of a lot of people because the arcade was so notorious. Located on the edge of the Zone during the video game craze of the early `80s, it was a magnet for teenagers.

I can`t imagine Emerson College would keep calling it that.
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:22 AM   #16
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I'm not saying Emerson should take over DTC. I'm saying the stores itself could individually choose stay open past 7.
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:52 AM   #17
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Hopefully....

7 PM is before my grandfather's bedtime.
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:15 PM   #18
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I edited one of my replies above to correct a careless factual error. The Bijou closed in 1943 because of stricter fire laws, but the former B.F. Keith (by then called the Laffmovie) held on until about 1951. Both were demolished in the early 1950s.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:03 PM   #19
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Re: BRA approves Emerson College's Paramount Center

Taken 12/24

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Old 12-31-2007, 01:54 AM   #20
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Re: BRA approves Emerson College's Paramount Center

Looks like they've demolished all of the Bijou building except for the front fa?ade.
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addition, college/university, dorm, downtown, downtown crossing, emerson college, paramount, preservation, theater, theater district, washington st.

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