Judge Refuses To Block Demolition Of Gaiety Theatre

posted by Ron Newman on December 23, 2004 at 8:25 am

BOSTON, MA — A Massachusetts Land Court judge yesterday rejected a request by the Glass Slipper strip club to stop a developer from tearing down the defunct and dilapidated Gaiety Theatre nearby.

The theater’s owner, Kensington Investment Co., said it will “shortly proceed with demolition of long-vacant buildings” it owns at 659-665 Washington St. near Chinatown. It declined to give a more specific timetable.

It was unclear last night whether the Glass Slipper would appeal the judge’s decision.

In denying the Glass Slipper’s request for a preliminary injunction, Judge Keith Long wrote that the Glass Slipper had failed to demonstrate that it would be irreparably harmed by the Gaiety’s demolition.

Long also wrote that the Glass Slipper had not shown that it’s likely to prevail on the merits of its claim in an ongoing lawsuit that the Gaiety, as a theater in the city’s theater district, can only be demolished under special circumstances.

Long, who toured the Gaiety recently, noted that the Gaiety has “not been used as a theater, equipped for use as a theater, or legally capable of being used as a theater under its certificate of occupancy since at least May 10, 1988.”

Kensington wants to build an apartment tower called Kensington Place on land partly occupied by the Glass Slipper and the Gaiety. The Boston Redevelopment Authority has said it will seek to take the Glass Slipper by eminent domain if Kensington and the Glass Slipper cannot negotiate a sale.

Read the full Boston Globe article here.

Theaters in this post

Comments (5)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 23, 2004 at 8:42 am

An update from today’s Globe:

today’s Boston Globe:

Court denies appeal of Gaiety demolition

The Massachusetts Appeals Court rejected the Glass Slipper strip club’s request to stop demolition of the defunct Gaiety Theatre. The Gaiety’s owner, Kensington Investment Co., wants to construct an apartment building near the corner of Washington and LaGrange streets, land partly occupied by the Gaiety and the Glass Slipper. The Glass Slipper had asked the Massachusetts Land Court for an injunction that would spare the Gaiety. That request was denied Tuesday and the Glass Slipper appealed. Yesterday, the Appeals Court upheld the Land Court’s decision. The Glass Slipper’s lawyer said his client was reviewing his options. A Kensington spokeswoman said the developer was pleased with the result. She declined to elaborate on an earlier statement that the Gaiety’s demolition “will shortly proceed.” In Land Court, a lawsuit continues in which the Glass Slipper alleges that Kensington was wrongly granted special zoning for its housing development.

sdoerr on December 23, 2004 at 5:08 pm

This is such a shame. People cannot appreciate what little we have left of our past. Every month we lose theaters to the wrecking ball. It seems that in 10 years all this nation will come to is parking lots, cheap glass buildings, and McDonald’s/Walgreens on every corner. This is what I consider self-terrorism. The average citizen could care less about historic buildings, as I have witnessed this first hand. If the nation ever does get an appreciation, it will be too late, and we will come back to situations like these, thinking how could we have done this?
The items of the past, such as large movie palaces with elaborate plasterwork and marble cannot be recreated. No one realizes before it’s too late, this cannot be recreated, we can only reflect on when the nation had money to built huge movie palaces and skyscrapers with gold, where ornamentation was a standard, before the depression. We can never create the nation that once was.
We must save and cherish what we have left. The time to act is now, before our own people take what little we have of our past.

Maxxarcade on December 25, 2004 at 10:31 am

Is there anything in the building that they will allow to be salvaged at least? I don’t understand how people can just throw stuff away like that, especially when you think of all the people who took a lot of pride in putting that place together.

But there will come a day when people realize what they are doing. But then they will probably still shrug it off as “progress”. What kind of world does everyone want to live in nowadays? Must be nice to have enough money to consider buildings disposable, even when some are only a few years old.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 1, 2005 at 4:44 pm

The latest e-mail missive from Lee Eiseman of Friends of the Gaiety Theatre:

As of New Year’s Eve I can report that The Gaiety has had another reprieve!

In a brief submitted to Judge Francis Spina of The Massachusetts Supreme Court, the lawyer for The Glass Slipper argued that demolition of the theatre would deprive his client of the right to several substantial arguments in cases still open in Massachusetts Land Court.

Judge Spina asked Kensington Development for assurances that they would refrain from demolition until after Judge Spina decides the case which will be heard on Friday, January 7, 9:30 am at 1 Beacon Street 3rd floor. Kensington has assented to this request. The public and press may attend.

The Supreme Court has very high standards for accepting cases. They must believe that a message needs to be sent to the lower courts. There are some substantial legal issues here that need enlightened adjudication.

Starting Monday, I would like to have half-hour lunchtime vigils in front of the theatre every day through Friday. Please let me know if you will participate.


Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 3, 2005 at 8:58 am

I got another e-mail from Lee after submitting the above. There will be just one demonstration outside the theatre this week (not one each day). It will take place at noon on Thursday, January 6.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment