“After failing to attract any proposals from developers, the Kimmel Center will not be proceeding with a project that would have demolished the office-building portion of the Merriam Theater building, put a new tower in its place, and cantilevered the new tower over the old remaining theater itself,” writes Peter Dobrin in Tuesday’s (1/22) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The arts center, which acquired the Merriam in 2016, had hoped that the base of the tower would have served in part as a lobby and space for amenities for the theater, and that proceeds generated by air rights to a residential tower above could have helped to finance renovations … Nine developers ‘expressed interest’ in the Kimmel’s request for proposals, said Kimmel president Anne Ewers… ‘But one by one they realized … that they couldn’t make the numbers work,’ she said…. The Kimmel still plans to renovate the Merriam, which it bought from the University of the Arts in 2016 for $11 million. … Ewers says the Kimmel hopes to cover the costs of the renovation through the sale of naming rights…. Performances in the Merriam, which opened in 1918 as the Sam S. Shubert Theatre, continue.” Resident companies at the Kimmel Center include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philly Pops, Pennsylvania Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Philadanco, and Opera Philadelphia.
Posted January 24, 2019