BDC seeks bids for historic Mayfair Theatre
The city is looking to sell the former Mayfair Theatre and an adjacent lot for redevelopment.
The Baltimore Development Corp. opened the properties at 506 N. Howard and 300 West Franklin streets to bidders on Tuesday.
The city started tearing down much of the 112-year-old Mayfair this year after a 2014 fire. The main façade and part of the lobby were spared the wrecking ball.
The BDC’s request for proposals says interested developers should plan to renovate and preserve them, as required under an agreement with the Maryland Historical Trust. The organization also wants to see the roughly 17,340-square-foot site, especially the ground level, put back to use, adding activity to an area where hundreds of apartments are under construction.
Responses to the RFP are due March 6.
The Mayfair site has been a part of Baltimore’s cultural fabric since at least 1870, when the Natatorium — which included a gymnasium and indoor pool — opened there. It reopened as a theater called the Howard Auditorium in April 1891, undergoing extensive renovation. The current structure, built for $250,000, opened in September 1904, converting to a movie theater in 1941. The last movies were shown in 1986.
The city-owned building had been vacant for a dozen years when its roof collapsed in 1998. As recently as 2008, a developer floated plans to rehab the building and turn it into a combination of retail and apartment space.
An October 2014 fire in an adjacent building, caused by workers removing the Mayfair’s marquee, further damaged the theater.