Burnham Plaza Theatre To Close
CHICAGO, IL — Time has run out on the Burnham Plaza Theatre , located in Chicago’s South Loop area at 826 S Wabash. According to an article by Haydn Bush in the 6/15/2005 edition of the CHICAGO JOURNAL, the theater will close in August 2005 and be converted to medical offices. The article states that the landlords of the Burnham Plaza blame an inneficient design and a changing real estate market.
The theater was built in 1987 by Cineplex Odeon in the burgeoning South Loop Area. Yet for some reason, it has never been a success, despite being the only theater in the area since 2000. In the eighteen years it’s been open, it has been operated by Cineplex Odeon, Loews Cineplex, Meridien, and finally Village Theatres.
Although Village did try to make the place viable, and cleaned it up somewhat, they did not advertise the theater in the paper.
According to Jerome Karp, one of the managers of the property that the Burnham Plaza sat on, the theater emphasized sweeping atriums and open rooms that wasted valuable floor space. Up to 50 percent of the building contained floor space that wasn’t used. Per the CHICAGO JOURNAL article, Karp said that the theater would need to be renovated and improved to be a viable tenant. He further stated that he had considered renting the Burnham Plaza to another indpendent operator, but that no one made a serious offer. He acknowledged that an independent theater in a big city has a difficult time in making it. “Nobody really came to the plate and pushed,” Karp said.
And so the South Loop loses its last movie theater. But perhaps the Burnham Plaza was just a little ahead of its time. It was the first multiplex built as such in Downtown Chicago. But at the time of its construction, the area was only beginning to boom and the Burnham Plaza initially attracted a rough crowd. But despite it being in a yuppified area with several colleges nearby, the Burnham Plaza became a good lesson in how NOT to run a modern theater.