The owner of the Huntington Avenue block that includes the old BU Theatre says it will sell the theater building to the group that now runs it for $1 in exchange for city permission to build a 32-story building with 426 residential units atop two adjoining parcels.
Under plans filed with the BPDA, developers Fan Du, John Matteson and Steve Goodman would also set aside space in their new tower for cultural space to be programmed by the theater's current operators, the Huntington Theatre Co. The developers bought the theater from Boston University, which has plans for its own theater space on its campus along Commonwealth Avenue.
The plans call for 114 parking spaces in an underground garage.
The Project façade is designed to serve as an extension of the B.U. Theatre, with theatre functions dominating the sidewalk and bringing the Theatre out to the street edge. The Project will provide a new lobby and accessible entrance for the Theatre, and new opportunities for retail/ restaurant space that will complement the surrounding cultural uses. A smaller residential lobby will also be located along Huntington Avenue, at the midpoint of the new building, and to the left of the residential lobby entrance, there will be a third entrance to a large retail/restaurant space. All three entrances will connect visually to the streetscape through full-height, exterior storefront windows. The second floor, above the new Theatre lobby, will provide break-out space for theatregoers during intermissions, and will include a large, outdoor balcony above the new Theatre lobby, distinguishing the new building to the east from the old Theatre façade.
The design of the new building is inspired by Greek drama masks. These "masks" manifest themselves as large light and dark bands that wrap the façade and will serve as an iconic focal point for the Avenue of the Arts, because of the site's location near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Huntington Avenue.