By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Florida-based builder of high-end movie theaters will appear Tuesday at a Philadelphia Historical Commission hardship hearing to make its case for turning an old Art Deco movie palace on Chestnut Street into a high-end multi-screen theater.

KYW’s Molly Daly reports the Boyd Theater’s exterior is protected, but not its opulent interior.

READ: Preservationists Go To Bat Again To Preserve Historic Boyd Theater

Friends of the Boyd President Howard Haas says his group is vigorously opposed to the hardship application filed by iPic Theaters.

“We believe it would be a horrible result for Philadelphia,” says Haas.

iPic wants to demolish all but the Boyd’s facade, making way for eight small theaters with drinking and dining options, contending that plan is the only way to make the project financially worthwhile.

Attorney Matt McClure, representing iPic, says the plan would bring a blighted, long-unused venue back to life.

“This is the best chance of restoring this site to the previous historic use, giving a real value to the neighborhood when it comes to having a major movie theater in downtown Philadelphia, which we haven’t had for a very long time,” says McClure.

The Boyd’s screen went dark in 2002.

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