Boston’s Gaiety Theatre: Demolition Expected Soon

posted by Ron Newman on January 12, 2005 at 9:30 am

BOSTON, MA — A Massachusetts state supreme court judge has refused to reverse a lower court’s ruling allowing demolition of Boston’s Gaiety Theatre. Since no legal impediment remains, demolition could start at any time.

The Glass Slipper strip club, an abutter of the Gaiety, tried to prevent demolition of the century-old theater until pending lawsuits were resolved, but the club’s attempts were denied in the Land Court, Appeals Court and now the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

Associate Justice Francis X. Spina made his decision on Tuesday afternoon, January 11, stating that the Glass Slipper has “failed to show that they will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction does not issue.” Spina also said that the Glass Slipper lacks standing.

An attorney for the Glass Slipper said he disagreed with the decision but that the club has “exhausted the process.”

An attorney representing Kensington Investment Company, which plans to demolish the Gaiety Theatre at 665 Washington St., said he was delighted with the decision and that he did not know when demolition would begin.

Sampan, the newspaper of Boston’s Chinatown, has the full story on its web site.

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Comments (8)

IanJudge on January 12, 2005 at 10:49 am

The completely frustrating thing about this is that the theater is going to be demolished, but the lawsuit about what replaces it could be won – meaning the new building won’t be built – and the lot will sit empty for years while the details are worked out. All that instead of saving a significant building.

Mayor Menino should be ashamed, the BRA should be disbanded, and I hope Kensington goes right down the toilet.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 12, 2005 at 11:09 am

If we have to lose the Gaiety, the second-best outcome would be for the court to rule that a destroyed theatre must be replaced in any new development. Downtown Boston could certainly use a second movie multiplex, especially once Copley Place closes.

IanJudge on January 12, 2005 at 11:15 am

Or at least a theater space for residents of Chinatown to use. It should be part of the zoning – if you tear down a theater, you must include a theater space in your new building. There was similar zoning in Times Square (which unfortunately meant that a lot of theaters were demolished and replaced with skyscrapers that contained new (and mostly lesser) theater spaces)… but why not make the zoning more specific to save theaters – OH WAIT, THEY DID, BUT THE CITY IGNORED IT AND LET THE DEVELOPERS DO WHATEVER THEY WANTED!

focus on January 15, 2005 at 2:08 am

Its a shame that no one contacted LAHAT as I suggested. To pin ones hope on a seady establihment was just like taking a rope and steping off the chair.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 19, 2005 at 2:35 pm

the latest from Lee Eiseman of Gaiety Theatre Friends:

January 19, 2005

Recent Gaiety Developments

As Kensington moves toward demolition by erecting staging along the north wall of The Gaiety, City Councilors and Ritz Tower plaintiffs make motions in two venues.

Yesterday at 1:00 PM Boston City Councilors Chuck Turner and Felix Arroyo filed an appeal with The Boston Zoning Board of Appeal to reverse the demolition permit for The Gaiety on the grounds that the issuance was in violation of section 38 – 21 of Boston Zoning code. This section protects theaters in the Midtown Cultural District from demolition unless the Zoning Board of Appeal grants a change of use. Should a theater be demolished illegally or legally in this district it must be replaced on site or another existing theatre restored. The prospect of a requirement to replace The Gaiety should give Kensington pause before commencing demolition, and would encumber the permitting and financing of the proposed tower project.

In another venue, the three plaintiffs in the Ritz Tower who were denied standing in Land Court to sue against irregularities in the PDA process will be filing an appeal this week in Massachusetts Appeal Court.

Unfortunately, neither action seems likely to save our theater.

johnlelecas on January 29, 2005 at 7:00 pm

What a shame!!! The perfect spot for art films, local talent, and other off-beat ventures. Boston’s Mayor Mennino must be totally ignorant of what is going on in Philadelphia and other cities – large and small – throughout the country. He is totally lax in not being more aware. Get him out!!!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 21, 2005 at 6:28 am

Demolition of the Gaiety has begun. I don’t know if it started Tuesday or yesterday, but when I walked down LaGrange Street last night at 9:15, I saw that big chunks had been taken out of the roof and the south wall.

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