The Boyd Theater in Bethlehem will be released next month

The final curtain call for Bethlehem The historic, crumbling Boyd Theater was set up.

Demolition of the destroyed property at 26-44 W. Broad St. will begin Feb. 7, developer Plamen “Rocco” Ayvazov said. Construction crews have completed the asbestos removal and are now carefully preserving elements of the movie theater, such as its projectors.

The final step will be the iconic Boyd sign.

“We left the sign to be the last,” Ayvazov said. “I know it’s going to be an emotional thing for everyone.”

Don Wenner’s DLP Capital Partners and Ayvazov’s Monocacy General Contracting purchased the property at 26-44 W. Broad St. in February 2021. Developers plan a six-story, $55 million residential and commercial building on the site. Construction is expected to take 18 months, Ayvazov said.

Initial plans submitted to the city called for a 13-story building with an underground parking floor. Those plans have since been revised for the six-story building with underground parking, for a total of seven stories, which the planning commission approved in October.

The Boyd closed in 2011 and, as it deteriorated, the adjacent storefronts were condemned in 2015.

“Unfortunately, it fell into the hands of too many people and no one did anything,” Ayvazov said.

Plans for the 85-foot-tall building call for 195 apartments — a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom units — plus nine hotel rooms and a lobby, atop 49 parking spaces accessible from Raspberry Street. . Two large courtyards for residents will provide a swimming pool and leisure area, as well as garden space. The project also includes two commercial spaces of 2,175 and 3,545 square feet.

The city has asked landlords to reserve 10% of apartments for affordable housing, defined by the city as available to renters earning 80% of the area’s median income.

Ayvazov said Wednesday that the Boyd project will include a mix of affordable and market-priced apartments, but he does so regardless of city involvement. The exact composition of the units and the associated prices are not yet defined.

“We know this is a big crisis in America for affordable living,” he said. “We tried to be a small part of solving this crisis in the Lehigh Valley.”

Bethlehem’s iconic Boyd Theater and adjoining storefronts – seen January 24, 2002 – are now surrounded by fences in preparation for their upcoming demolition. Saed Hindach | For lehighvalleylive.comSaed Hindach | For lehighvalleylive.com

It aims to target people who are “stuck in the middle” and who do not qualify for government assistance, but cannot afford to pay higher rents. In its developments, it strives to work with its tenants on a case-by-case basis and not reduce them to a credit score, Ayvazov said.

“(I try) to be more human,” he said.

The developer has built an eclectic portfolio of properties across Bethlehem, where he has lived since 2006. He targets run-down properties, like the former Miller’s Wholesale paper building, 810 W. Monocacy St. and a former auto parts store, 16 W. Goepp St., with the goal of turning horrors into assets for the city, he said.

Currently, it incorporates the former Zion First Hungarian Lutheran Church, 938 E. Fourth St., into a development of 24 affordable apartments. The church was redesigned into a fitness center and community hall. Tearing down the church would have saved him $300,000, but much of Southside’s history would then be lost, he said.

“We don’t want that completely erased,” he said.

It also plans to demolish the old Keystone Homebrew Supply building on East Third Street to construct a six-story, 55-unit building with commercial space on the first floor. The 68ft building would stretch to Mechanic Street, where it would overlook the South Bethlehem Greenway.

And then he has a mixed-use development at 218 West Union Blvd., off Route 378. He expects those plans to be presented to the planning commission this spring.

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Sara K. Satullo can be contacted at [email protected].

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