The development process for South Street’s Royal Theater has been moving forward slowly. The project was connected to developer Carl Dranoff until October, when he sold the property to Robert Roskamp, a developer with work in Florida and Chester County.
Roskamp’s redevelopment vision includes the reuse of some of the historic theater’s structure, but with the addition of new construction to create a mix of apartments and townhouses. The project went before the Historical Commission’s Architectural Committee this week.
Architect and committee member John Cluver agreed, saying that the proposed black metal panels flanking the old brick of the Royal’s surviving frontage clashed mightily. He described the effect as “Escher-like.”
The development team said it was not opposed to using alternate colors, saying black was chosen as a means to make the surviving façade stand out.
The Architectural Committee broadly agreed that the black panels’ effect is dubious at best. They also took issue with the diminished setbacks now proposed, noting that the old plans fit the streetscape better.
The committee ultimately approved the design. Updated plans for the theater will have the new construction set back more, along with the note that the “pergola on the west side of the structure be removed to match the east side and recommended that the color of the wings be changed to something a little less assertive or aggressive.”