Moravian College in October 2014 announced potential plans to bring live theater to the defunct and iconic Boyd Theater in Bethlehem.
This morning however, Mike Wilson, Moravian’s director of public relations and marketing, confirmed that the school will not pursue the Boyd Theatre renovation project as planned and that it has withdrawn the purchase agreement with the property owner.
The move comes as the college and development partner J.G. Petrucci of Bethlehem and New Jersey were operating under an extension of the original agreement of understanding, which was set to conclude Sept. 1.
In May, the property suffered further rain water damage which led Bethlehem to condemn the property that was housing two businesses, according to a press release from the college. This added costs to the project and made it even more difficult to buy the building and raise the funds necessary for its renovation.
“We estimated the acquisition and restoration of the Boyd Theatre would range between $22 million to $30 million, depending on the extent of deferred maintenance and water damage,” Moravian president Bryon Grigsby said in a press release. “Moravian College was willing to contribute to this project, but because of already-committed projects … is not able to fund it alone.”
The building on Broad Street once served as one of the oldest single-screen movie theaters in the region.
“While we are disappointed we couldn’t make the Boyd part of Moravian College; we remain committed to bringing live theater to downtown Bethlehem,” Grigsby said. “And believe it [live theater] would be a valuable economic driver for the city and a significant addition to our curriculum.”