Rotunda theater closes its doors

The Baltimore Sun

The Rotunda Cinematheque will not be reopening, as operator Tom Kiefaber focuses his attention on saving the troubled Senator Theatre.

"In this economy, it simply isn't supporting itself, and we're unable to keep current with the utilities and overhead costs of operating the facility," Kiefaber said yesterday. "We've made the tough decision to cease day-to-day operations at The Rotunda to focus our resources and energy on our efforts to reorganize the Senator Theatre under new ownership and management."

Representatives of New Jersey-based Hekemian & Co., owners of The Rotunda mall, could not be reached for comment. Last week, however, a Hekemian official said the company had no plans in the works should the Cinematheque shut down.

The twin-screen Cinematheque, which Kiefaber ran primarily as a showplace for movies that could no longer attract enough people to fill the Senator, showed its last movies Monday night. Kiefaber, who is about $70,000 behind in mortgage payments on the Senator and faces an April 20 foreclosure auction, had been showing movies at the Cinematheque since December 2002.

This is not the first time the Rotunda theaters, on 40th Street near Hampden, have gone dark. In March 2001, they shut down after the company that had been running them, Loews Corp., declared bankruptcy.

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