Despite concerns by preservationists, the owners of the 86-year-old Boyd Theatre say that they will restore the historic Center City building's façade when they convert it into an eight-screen movie house.

Demolition of the Boyd's ornate art deco interior began on March 23, three days after the Philadelphia Historical Commission granted permission to owner Live Nation to gut the building, accepting the company's argument that it was not economically feasible to refurbish the theater.

"There was a small crew there today doing no more than was approved in order to start reconstruction," said Ballard Spahr partner Matthew N. McClure, attorney for Live Nation.

Mr. McClure said the original exterior facade will remain. "We are very excited about the historical front of the building that is going to be beautifully restored," he said.

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