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Senator to close for renovations for at least six months (access required)

The historic art deco palace in north Baltimore known as the Senator Theatre has closed — for at least six months. When it reopens around Christmas time, it will have three new theaters, a restored main auditorium complete with comfy chairs, and a tapas café with outdoor seating, all part of a $3 million facelift that is now underway. The theater closed this week, showing its last film for the spring, “The Hunger Games,” on Thursday, said Kathleen Cusack Lyon, who co-owns the theater with her father, Buzz Cusack. Lyon said the movie palace, built in the 1939 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be receiving long-awaited restorations and renovations as created by local design architect Alex Castro. When it reopens, after an expected six to nine-months of construction, it will have smaller theaters for classic films, one of which will seat 120 and two others seating 75 and 70 patrons each. A new café, to be operated by the owners of Tapas Teatro next to The Charles Theatre in the Station North Arts District, also owned by Lyon and her father, will serve small plate foods and beer and wine in a space formerly used as “the popcorn room” and a now-closed dry cleaners, a Senator employee said. Outdoor seating will be available as the weather permits, Lyon said. “As far as we’re concerned, it will be a one-of-a-kind theater, a deco theater built in the 1930s and still operating as a movie theater,” Lyon said. “What will make this truly original and a huge asset to the city is that it will be an art deco movie palace that is still playing movies, one of the only ones left in the country.” Ticket prices will rise a dollar to $10, she added. Lyon and Cusack received a $300,000 state sustainable communities tax credit from the Maryland Historical Trust this year for the renovations. The Senator was sold to the city at auction in July 2009 for $810,000 after financial straits by its former owner.

One comment

  1. Interesting article. The Senator was never a “palace”. A tapas cafe w/outdoor seating? Or a creperie? Or a wine bar? Depends on which article one is reading I suppose. The Cusacks are/were seeking Over $3 miilion dollars and the project is currently over $4 million dollars. Neither Mr. or Ms. Cusack own The Senator Theatre. The Senator closed the day prior to the day they announced closing (unannounced)The Cusacks are not responsible for The Senator having been added to The National Register (for the record)The Cusack have stated they are continuing with a “first run films only” policy. Alex Castro has yet to asknowledge his association with The Senator project publicly.The Cusack have never owned The Charles Theatre. Karzai bagged his interest in The Senator porject a long time ago. The storage area attached to the main building han’t been a dry-cleaner for well over 20 plus years.
    The $810,000.00 isn’t actual dollars spent by the city.