Proposed Hotel Development Threatens Historic Loews Theatre

A hotel developer has submitted a second proposal for the redevelopment of the former Loew’s State Palace Theatre into a 248-room hotel after its first proposal raised overwhelming concerns from preservationists. The first proposal would have gutted the historic interior theater space while keeping the 92-year-old building’s Spanish Colonial façade.

On Tuesday (May 22), the Architecture Review Committee (ARC) of the Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission reviewed the second proposal, a design strategy that would preserve the interior theater but replace the two-story Spanish Colonial facade with a 160-foot tower fronting Canal Street. See the full proposal here.

The Preservation Resource Center spoke against the second proposal at the ARC meeting. Erin Holmes, PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator, argued that the proposals represent too much of a sacrifice of the historic integrity of this prominent Canal Street landmark. She also pointed out the detrimental impact a 40-foot height variance would set as a precedent for future development along the street.

The ARC does not have the authority to weigh in on demolitions or proposed uses but agreed that the new conceptual solution was “not approvable,” sending the project to the full CBD HDLC for further consideration of the proposed scope of demolition.

Stay tuned with us for further updates.

 

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Photo courtesy of Matt Lambros at afterthefinalcurtain.net, renderings courtesy Trapolin Peer Architects.