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Journey ends for Huntington Theatre and BU; groups to go their separate ways

Boston University and the Huntington Theatre Company released a joint press release yesterday announcing they were dissolving their 33-year old partnership. As a result, Huntington will have to vacate their facility at 264 Huntington Ave. BU will immediately list that property for sale, along with the two buildings adjacent.

Over the course of the last year, however, it has become clear that BU and the Huntington both have needs that the partnership can no longer meet. The Huntington needs a more modern theatre in which to present its large-scale productions as well as function space for its patrons. BU needs to better serve its theatre arts students and thus relocate its production, design, and black box facilities to its Charles River Campus. Neither BU nor the Huntington have the resources it will take to renovate and modernize the BU Theatre within the constraints of our current partnership.

According to the Boston Globe, Huntington attempted to negotiate a purchase with BU but they were apparently worlds apart on the price.

BU will require any buyer to guarantee the Huntington’s use of the facility through June 30, 2017. The theatre company will continue to own and operate four theaters at the Calderwood Pavilion for the Arts in the South End.

(Fun fact: One of the three buildings was apparently a twin vertical movie theater last mid-century, the Symphony Cinema.)

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Comments

I heard that New England Conservatory was jonesing for that space years ago, because it's right between their dorm on Gainsborough and their classroom building at the intersection of St. Botolph and Mass Ave. Maybe there's a plan in the works already.

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They each said to each other, I Will Be Alright Without You. BU is right to Escape back to their core campus which is Worlds Apart from Commonwealth Avenue. When it comes to theatre in Boston today it seems Only The Young can survive with the pending demise of the Colonial at the hands of Emerson.

Don't Stop Believing however, the theatre folk of this city can sometimes be loathe to welcome change with Open Arms but they continue to go to shows Faithfully.

I am out of Journey puns. God I hate that band.

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You're Stone in Love.

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Between this and Emerson wanting to desecrate the landmark jewelbox Colonial Theater into a cafetorium worthy of a backwater regional high school*, Boston might as well give up on the concept of a theater district or 'avenue of the arts'.

*the officials at Emerson proposing this need tar, feathers, and an injunction from every historical society/review panel/cultural association/sane person within 300 miles.

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We used to be regular subscribers to the Huntington, but cut down to a 4 play...in fact, going there tonight to see not one of my favorite Sondheims, but this is a nice venue. Also ties in to my favorite topic, the perpetual bussing on the Orange line at night. I remember years ago being contacted to ask why we were not renewing our subscription, and I told the individual that the bussing on the Orange Line was a contributing factor. Probably wasn't...some of the productions are extraordinary, some are mundane, but there are always a few each year that are worth going to there.

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Do you mean shuttles or kissing?

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Please take it to alt.slame.fpelling.

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BU is looking to cash-in on the red hot market and figures it would be cheaper to build a new theater closer to their campus then renovate the Huntington. As I recall those buildings need a lot of work at this point. (I've been in other parts of the building and like many century old theaters it ain't pretty.)

The question now is will a private developer bid higher than Northeastern? Either way it's looking grim for the Huntington theatre company.

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Why do they need work?

In London, most privately-owned theaters are unrenovated. Not only does this add to their charm, it also keeps costs down -- theater tickets are one of the few things that are cheaper in London than here.

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Fire code violations, accessibility issues, water/structural damage, lead paint dust, loose asbestos, old wiring create risks which need to be fixed before people get sick/hurt.

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You can't fix just some of the issues. Once you fix some, the grandfathering on the others is revoked and a full renovation is required to bring everything up to code. Sometimes a place has to be run into the ground as-is or torn down.

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Have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post.

If only Mother, Father, were here to see it.

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