Bethlehem’s Boyd Theater may be torn down

Bethlehem’s Boyd Theater may be torn down as seen on WFMZ on February 12, 2019 by Justin Backover.

The city is excited to see something finally happening with the property.

Anyone who has walked down the block where the theater is can see there aren’t many storefronts and the few that are there seem excited to see new life on West Broad Street.

“I am very surprised about it,” Carmen Toro said.

Toro owns one of the handful of businesses next to the Boyd Theater on Broad Street. She’s been there for six years.

So, naturally, she was shocked to learn that the building will be now be torn down for a $22 million apartment building.

“The magnitude of this building and the cost of it. It’s gonna be great,”  Toro said.

The theater, which opened in 1921, has been closed since 2011.

“This block has suffered from underdevelopment for many, many years,” Bethlehem’s Department of Community and Economic Development director said.

Alicia Miller Karner says although the city hasn’t seen any plans for the 120-unit building yet, the building will be mixed use.

“To see a development plan that involves residential and retail frontage is an exciting prospect for the city,” Karner said.

“There’s a lack of traditional storefronts on both sides of the street within that corridor.”

“It’s gonna be amazing because then we’re gonna have people who want to be around,” Toro said.

The city feels more residential units are central to the success of the downtown.

“It is much easier to get somebody up the block to walk to your business than it is to get somebody from another community to get in the car and drive down there,” Karner said.

Although the building is historically significant, it is too costly to restore.

Carmen, for her part, is happy to see new life on the block.

“Now it’s in ruins so – out,” Toro said.

There are no renderings yet.

Since this block falls in the Central Business District, the zoning allows a wide array of possibilities.

The city says it will review those plans once it receives them.

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