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A 1951 aerial view of the Skokie Theatre’s neighborhood can be seen here: View link
Skokie was originally called Niles Center. Per my above post, it was originally platted out in the circa 1910-1920. Although the real estate lots had been sold and the streets planned and named, the Depression of the 1930s killed this idea. World War II further delayed the development of Niles Center, which by that time was re-named Skokie. Even in the 1951 photo above, you can still observe a lot of vacabt kabd.
It is interesting that back when Sony-Loews and Cineplex Odeon merged, this was one of the theatres that was to be divested. The theatre was supposed to have been sold to the ill-fated Meridien Theatres chain (which lasted about 2 years). The owners of the building didn’t think that Meridien had the financial means for this property—it is in the “high-rent district” of Chicago—thus the sale was never consummated.
The United States Department of Justice did take Loews-Cineplex to court because of this failure to divest the theatre. I found the following from doing a Google search:
“The 900 North Michigan Avenue theatre is a two screen site located a few blocks from the 600 Michigan Avenue location. Because of its small size and unusual location (in the basement of a very upscale multi-use development), this theatre historically has had lower revenues than the 600 North Michigan location. When Loews presented Meredian as the potential purchaser for this theatre in February, 1999, the landlord consented to an assignment of the lease to Meredian. However, because the landlord had refused to consent to the assignment of the 600 North Michigan lease to Meredian, Meredian’s banker declined to finance an independent purchase of 900 North Michigan.”—from the USDOJ website on the lawsuit.
It all eventually became a moot point anyways. Even though the theatre remained with Loews, it was closed in 2003 and converted to a health club. There are those who say that Cineplex-Odeon opened up this theatre in response to getting booted out of the nearby Esquire (in favor of Sony-Loews)and that C-O was going to apply the Esquire name on this theatre.
“In February 1999, and again in September 1999, Loews presented Meredian as the potential purchaser for this location. On both occasions, after review, the landlord concluded that the proposed assignee did not meet the criteria set forth in the lease and accordingly withheld his consent to an assignment of the lease to Meredian.”—From the USDOJ website.
Oddly enough, it was fortunate that the 600 North was not divested to Meridien as that chain only lasted about 2 years. Meridien was shut down after failing to pay the city and county amusement taxes. The 600 North remained with Loews until its 2006 merger with AMC. The theatre is now a part of the latter.
Don’t forget the Berghoff. No, not the “faux Berghoff” which now exists on Adams Street—the real one which served Wiener Schnitzel, German Pot Roast, etc.
What I heard today on National Public Radio (WBEZ-FM) is that this place is definitely being torn down. In as much as I love all types of movie theatres, I must be realistic and realize that not all places can be saved. From looking at the above posts and links to photos, this place appeared to in very bad shape. I read the above link to the Sun-Times article and in defense of the owner, Mr. Patel, it sounds like he had good intentions.
I’m actually more upset about the potential loss of the Esquire Theatre. I know that its interior was gutted however a number of the Art Deco touches in that theatre have been retained. As has the marquee and facade, the loss of which would leave a gaping hole on Oak Street. The Esquire could be fixed up again, albeit not returned to a single-screen, and with proper programming it could be profitable again.
This theatre is owned by Nova Cinemas as is the nearby Showboat of Lyons (odd name as that place is also in Lake Geneva), They have a nice deal here on Tuesdays. Per Nova’s website: “FREE POPCORN DAY!!!!!!TUESDAYS!!!!!! BRING IN YOUR OWN BAG OR BOWL. 3 Free scoops.”
That should have been a question. “What will be the fate of this theatre if a new multi-plex opens up at Stratford Square?”
This theatre should actually be called “Bloomingdale Court.”
Can anybody tell me what this theatre looks like?
What will be the fate of this theatre if a new multi-plex opens up at Stratford Square.
This theatre should be updated. It is now a Kerasotes Theatre.
Don’t forget Classic Cinemas in the Chicagoland Area. I was going to add Village Theatres too, but someone from Classic, Drexel, or Phoenix really needs to call them up and tell them how to be successful.
The chain should be listed as “Village Theatres.” This is the same “Village Theatres” that operates cinemas in the Chicagoland Area.
It has been awhile since I was at the Village North. It was okay. The floors were clean, as were the rest rooms. The Village North gets significant walk-in trade from the community.
Once when I was there, circa 1997-1998, there was a petition being circulated protesting the proposed multi-plex. So, perhaps indirectly, Village Theatres won on that one.
Correction, that should be spelled “Belvidere.”
My girlfriend and I went here on 8-26-2006. I hadn’t been here in several years. It is true that most of the decor was lost when the theatre was “quadded.” Looking from the concession stand, one can easily guess the layout of the original single screen auditorium. Auditorium #1 is to the left and appears to be the largest. #s 2 and 3 are down a long hallway, presumably where the rear of the original theatre was. They are quite small. #4 is to the right. I couldn’t see in because another movie was playing.
As for my experience here. Well, the best thing that can be said is that the floors and restrooms were clean. The seats appear newer. If you go to www.cinematour.com and check out the Belvedere Theatre (now closed) in Waukegan, the seats in the photos appear similar and they may actually be those same seats! The concessions were okay and the staff was friendly enough. It was, however, very stuffy in #3. All-in-all, the Village isn’t a bad place to see a movie, but it really isn’t on my “must attend” list either.
It would be a shame to lose this one. It isn’t very old (what is it with these “less-than-20-year-old” former Cineplex-Odeons?). The Lincoln-Village Shopping Center has seen somewhat of a revival in recent years, so a cinema should do okay there.
The nearest theatre is the Village North (trying to get a parking space near it is impossible). Others are the Davis in Chicago, and the Crown in Skokie.
Per Village’s website, and the ads in the Sun-Times, it’s open.
I believe that in the 1980s (towards the end), the Varsity was doing revivals and classic films a la the Parkway in Chicago.
If that’s true, then it may have been the VCR and not the multi-plex that did in the Varsity and the Parkway.
The marquee on the Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC (which is still a movie theatre) looks very similar to the one which once adorned this place. Could the two theatres (or at least the marquees) have been designed by the same person?
The marquee for this theatre looks very much like the one that was on the old Varsity Theatre in Evanston, IL. Could the two theatres (or at least the marquees) have been designed by the same person?
The Block 37 straddles the Blue Line and Red Line subways. It is also close to the Loop L structure and the Metra Electric and the South Shore Line. So, yes, a transit facility is going in as it would make sense to have it there.
Life’s Too Short:
In reading several histories of the Brickyard Mall, many in the neighborhood did not want it in the first place. Initially the mall did a renumerative business however as the years went on it began to be more of a hangout. As I said above, the mall lost its three anchors (Wards, Penneys, and Kmart) within a matter of months of one another.
The “Lifestyle Center” of big box stores that replaced the mall appears to be doing well. The “Lifestyle Centers” tend not to be hangouts because people go there to shop and then leave.
The Bricktown wasn’t really located in the Brickyard. It was located in a shopping center—a strip mall—located adajacent to the mall.
The Bricktown wasn’t exactly
As I recall, the theatre was a single story one. There were about 2 or 3 free-standing pay booths as you entered. The auditoriums I beleive, were to the right on the south side of the building. I believe that the gym occupies the same structure tho I’m not 100% sure of this.
You seem to have the same affinity for these 1980s ‘plexes that I do. When you did your papers for school, did you include Cineplex-Odeon and its rapid downfall? I read a link to an article when C-O first entered the Chicagoland Area and the great optimisim the company had. I often wonder what went wrong. Of the 17 or so cinemas opened by C-O between 1987-1989, most have closed and some have even been demolished.
One more note on the Bricktown. By 1993 the theatre had already become rundown and scuzzy.
To some extent, the Bricktown was intended to be the replacement for the Will Rogers and the Mercury (and to a lesser extent the Montclare, but that theatre was never owned by C-O/Plitt). As other people have said, the Bricktown was nice when it opened up, but quickly fell into decline. It lasted only 11 years.
I must admit that I have a peculiar interest in these 1980s multiplexes opened by Cineplex-Odeon. They were once considered modern, but quickly became obsolete and now only a few remain.
When exactly did the Will Rogers close? I recall that in the ‘70s and early '80s, it was operated by Plitt. Did the Will Rogers make into the Cineplex-Odeon chain?
Per the comment by Riis Park above, it was Cineplex-Odeon which opened up the Bricktown Theatre. To some extent, the Bricktown was intended to be the replacement for the Will Rogers and the Mercury (and to a lesser extent the Montclare, but that theatre was never owned by C-O/Plitt). As other people have said, the Bricktown was nice when it opened up, but quickly fell into decline. It lasted only 11 years.