Friday, September 28, 2007
STL Rising: Resurrecting St. Bonafice
When the St. Louis Arch Diocese decided to consolidate some parishes, and close and sell some of their old city churches, historic St. Boniface church in Carondelet was on the surplus list. Apparently, the sale of the church carried with it some form of morals clause as a deed restriction.
St. Boniface Church is an anchor building in the recently created St. Boniface National Register historic district in Carondelet. Visit the area today, and there are a growing number of quality historic rehabs both completed and underway. Old St. Boniface, built in the 1850s, has been rehabbed and is re-opening as the "Ivory Theater". It's first show, "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll", is set to open this week.
However, today's news is reporting that the Arch Diocese is suing to block the opening of the show. The use restriction placed on the property prohibits activity in the building which would be deemed harmful to the community, including adult-oriented entertainment.
The developer agreed to the deed restriction, but was under the impression that the Arch Diocese was aiming primarily to prohibit strip clubs and other adult businesses from operating in the building. There is disagreement over whether the restriction applies to live performances such as the grand opening show, which some have described as barely "PG-13" in content.
The PD story is here.
An 11th hour meeting with top officials from the Arch Diocese averted a shutdown of the play, and observers noted that for its grand opening, the new Ivory Theater could have never afforded to pay for so much publicity.