Paramount Theater in Asbury Park could reopen this summer, sources say
News 12 is learning the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park could reopen this summer.
The theater and the attached convention hall main performance room have been closed since last year.
It was last August when the city of Asbury Park issued a 13-page resolution listing failures of Madison Marquette, the owners of Convention Hall. But last week, the city and the company held their most significant talks since that resolution was issued.
The 90-year-old venue was shuttered last year after the city issued a notice of default to Madison Marquette over safety concerns. The theater and convention hall main center were closed, and all events were canceled. The side bar, walkthrough and arcade area remained open.
“It’s not a question of is this a company that doesn’t have the money,” says Asbury Park historian Thomas DeSeno. “They have the money to repair all of this, they just haven’t done it.”
DeSeno, a frequent critic of Madison Marquette, says the ones hurt most by the closure are small businesses.
“These buildings, the convention hall complex in particular, was built to bring crowds to support the small businesses and that’s what it’s for,” says DeSeno. “If you’re not doing that, you’re doing a disservice to all these small business owners on the boardwalk."
Last August, Asbury Park called out the failures of Madison Marquette in a 13-page document, including failures to undertake the construction, development, operation, and maintenance of Convention Hall, failure to meet the obligations to perform the renovations and reconstructions, failure to maintain the complex in coordination with the state historic preservation office easement, and failure to continue and not suspend obligations as part of the subsequent developer agreement, of which they entered more than a decade ago.
“It’s almost like holding your parents’ hands when they’re slipping away and dying,” says DeSeno. “That's what it feels like watching these buildings dilapidate in front of our eyes slowly."
As a result of the meeting last week between Asbury Park and Madison Marquette, the city manager told News 12, “The city is hopeful that this summer will see the opening of the Water Park, repair and improvements of pavilions on the Boardwalk and the opening of the Paramount Theater. The city will continue to work with Madison Marquette to ensure that the facilities are accessible and safe for the tens of thousands of visitors that visit Asbury Park each summer."
The city also confirmed several of the default notices against the developers will be dropped. Discussions will continue Wednesday in executive session and be posted publicly on April 27.