Apart­ment homage to his­toric theater gets thumbs-up

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Charles Mal­in­chak

A pro­posed five-story apart­ment com­plex set to pay tribute to an early 20th-cen­tury Eas­ton movie theater is get­ting good reviews from the city.

The Eas­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion granted preliminar­y ap­proval in a unan­i­mous vote Wed­nes­day night to the pro­posal for the North Third Street site where the theater once stood. Peron De­vel­op­ment of Beth­le­hem hopes to be­gin con­struc­tion in March.

Peron’s John Cal­la­han said the num­ber of units has been re­duced to 68 from the orig­i­nal pro­posal of 70 be­cause of space con­straints at the site, which is now a city-owned park­ing lot.

Com­mis­sion Chair­man Charles El­liott said two re­quire­ments were at­tached to the ap­proval: the de­vel­oper must get a cer­tifi­cate of ap­pro­pri­ate­ness from the city his­tor­i­cal com­mis­sion if the de­sign of the build­ing is changed; and must agree to main­tain the ad­ja­cent Coburns Alley.

Pro­ject en­gi­neer David Wil­son of Civ­i­tas Re­gio en­gi­neers of Al­len­town said the com­plex will have 43 onebed­room and 25 two-bed­room apart­ments with re­tail space on the front of the build­ing, fac­ing North Third Street.

Cal­la­han es­ti­mated the pro­ject at about $14 mil­lion and said it would be called the Seville, which was a vaude­ville and movie theater that stood on the site in 1929. It was re­named the Boyd Theater in 1933.

Ac­cord­ing to Cine­maTrea­sures. org, the Boyd was de­mol­ished in 1972 af­ter show­ing its last movie, “The Ten Com­mand­ments,” and the prop­erty con­verted to a park­ing lot.

The pro­ject must now go be­fore the city Zon­ing Hear­ing Board to ob­tain vari­ances that Cal­la­han said in­clude one for hav­ing re­tail space only in front of the first floor rather than the re­quired en­tire floor. It would also a need a vari­ance for the build­ing’s foot­print to be larger than re­quired and pro­vid­ing less park­ing.

Cal­la­han said suf­fi­cient park­ing for ten­ants is ex­pected to be avail­able in a 400-space city park­ing garage set to be built about 100 feet away on North Fourth and Church streets. He said spaces in the garage would be leased by the ten­ants.

Rents for the apart­ments are ex­pected to range from $1,500 to $1,800.

“Our per­spec­tive is that op­por­tu­ni­ties for up­scale hous­ing in Eas­ton is there. It would bring more folks liv­ing down­town,” Cal­la­han said.

Charles Mal­in­chak is a free­lance writer for The Morn­ing Call.

MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

A park­ing lot oc­cu­pies the site of the former Boyd Theater in Eas­ton, but a de­vel­oper wants to re­place that with apart­ments.

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