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BOSTON-As part of its effort to revitalize the theater district on Lower Washington Street, the Boston Redevelopment Authority is exercising its power of eminent domain to take the dilapidated Modern Theater so it can be rehabilitated for cultural use.

Meredith Baumann, spokesperson for the BRA, tells GlobeSt.com that the seizure is a “friendly taking” from the Levin Family Trust. She says that the payment for the seven-story, 800-seat theater is still under negotiation.

“This is the third of the Mayor’s priority theaters on Lower Washington Street that were named to the 11 most endangered list,” notes Baumann, referring to the other two theaters on the street that the city wants to see renovated–the Paramount and the Opera House. Millennium Development Partners owns the Paramount and is in the process of renovating the building. A court ruling recently cleared the way for the city to move forward with its plans for a $30-million restoration of the Opera House.

City Mayor Thomas Menino began to raise public interest in rehabilitating the theaters about seven years ago by naming the three theaters to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Theaters List.

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