Leader of Hippodrome project resigns months before opening

October 03, 2003|By Laura Vozzella | Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF

The man hired to direct the $70 million Hippodrome restoration - a project considered crucial to reviving Baltimore's faded west side - left the job yesterday, four months before the theater's scheduled opening.

Robert M. Boras resigned as project director "to pursue other opportunities," according to a news release from the Maryland Stadium Authority, a partner in the restoration.

Boras could not be reached for comment.

Edward E. Cline, deputy director of the stadium authority, said the resignation was "[Boras'] choice."

"Mr. Boras resigned, and the project is moving forward, and it's on schedule for its planned opening," he said.

Boras' departure came as a surprise to Ronald M. Kreitner, executive director of WestSide Renaissance Inc., a business group that promotes that part of town.

Kreitner predicted that the resignation will create some "momentary awkwardness" but no long-term damage to the project.

"It's not something that's disconcerting, because an individual change, when there is a team in place, is a manageable thing," he said. "This project is going to be completed on time, and it will be a gem."

The 2,200-seat theater is scheduled to open Feb. 10 with a performance of The Producers.

It is hoped that the Hippodrome will bring far more than Broadway hits to the city's old retail hub. It is expected to be a cornerstone of a $700 million plan to revitalize the west side.

Financed by public and private funds, the theater is a joint venture of the stadium authority, the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts, and Clear Channel Entertainment.

Sun staff writer Scott Calvert contributed to this article.

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