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BDC announces two plans to bring The Parkway Theater back to life

The Baltimore Development Corporation has received two proposals for the development of a site in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District that includes the former Parkway Theater, a city cinema gem with a storied if erratic history. The three properties, 1820 North Charles Street, 1 West North Avenue and 3 West North Avenue (the former Parkway Theatre), were offered for development by the city in May.

One proposal, submitted by Cormony Development and Seawall Development Corp., both of Baltimore, calls for a single phase, mixed-use project in which The Parkway Theatre would be renovated to become a multi-faceted theatre hosting a variety of entertainment. The other two properties would be incorporated into the project through a mix of demolition, renovation and new construction. The proposal lists Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. as general contractor and Ziger/Snead and Cho Benn Holback + Associates as architects.

The competing proposal suggests restoring the Parkway Theater to its original conditions and architecture and razing 1 West North Avenue to allow for a two-floor plus mezzanine, three-story glass structure matching the current roofline and housing the Station North Steak House restaurant. 1820 North Charles Street would be renovated and converted to student housing. This proposal was submitted by Alexandria, Va.-based TK Services, Incand lists Brown Craig Turner as architect and Branko Maximilian Bijelic as general contractor.

Designed by Oliver B. Wright, The Parkway Theatre was patterned in the Louis XIV style after the West End Theatre near Leicester Square in London and envisioned as a Vaudeville performance house with about 1100 seats. It was acquired and remodeled in 1926 by the Loews organization and later, in 1952, acquired and closed by the Morris Mechanic organization. It reopened in 1956 as the Five West Art Theatre and remained under that operation until the mid-1970s, when it again closed. It was reopened in the early 1990s in an attempt to make commercial office space in the rear orchestra level, but it closed and has remained vacant since 1998.

Source: Baltimore Development Corp.
Writer: Lucy Ament
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