Showing 1 - 25 of 1,534 comments
$100,000 isn’t much money for such a big real estate deal. That’s not a positive sign.
And I really don’t understand why so much money was used to build a new Black performing arts center on the site of the old Regal Theater. The timing of the project was horrible, as both performing arts and film presentation aren’t what they used to be, and it created competition for the New Regal after so much money was spent to make it beautiful again. Neither facility has fared well:
I hope there is a good ending to all this. But right now I don’t see it.
In response to WayOutWardell:
It costs truckloads of money to maintain one of these big places: heating, cooling, electrical bill, cleaning, taxes, building maintenance, staffing, etc. The Tivoli might not have been completely dead in the water business-wise. But Balaban & Katz was a well-run company. For what they saw coming back it might not have been worth further investment. They put considerable money into the building in the 50’s and were apparently not satisfied with the return on investment.
If the decision to close and demolish was sudden it may be because a big repair came up, like maybe a problem with the boilers, and they opted to get out instead. The building was about forty years old at the time.
I’ll give you a modern-day example. John Barleycorn, a bar which has been on Lincoln Avenue for many years, just closed. When Crain’s talked to the owner he blamed it on nearby Children’s Memorial Hospital moving downtown. He said business wasn’t in the tank. But it wasn’t nearly as lucrative as it had been with so many employees working right next door. He said it would take a few years for them to re-purpose the property and he didn’t want to wait around. He has other business ventures and decided this one wasn’t the best use of his capital.
Kind of sounds like someone got bribed. On the other hand the city is really hard up for cash right now. They may be doing anything they can to get money in the door. Whatever the case, the Jefferson Park Police Commander doesn’t sound like he’s in the mood to take any crap.
I think it could be restored. Some really devastated buildings have been made beautiful again. The restoration would also pump a lot of money into the economy through the contractors. The question is what then?
Great post. Only photo I’ve seen of it as the Co Ed.
From what I read in the comments marquee replacement went against local and national opinion, and I personally don’t think it is an improvement. It’s the Windows 8 style of management: 1) Give Windows 8 to focus groups. 2) Focus groups all say they hate it but Windows 8 is released anyway. 3) Windows 8 bombs in the marketplace. But they don’t fix the consumer complaints with an update and continue to try to force it on people as is. This kind of thing always baffles me, especially in the case of the Virginia where it involves a taxpayer-funded organization. In Microsoft’s case they will pay the price with continued poor sales if they don’t give the people what they want. I’m not sure how it shakes out in Champaign, except possibly at the election booth.
You would think if it was featured in a WWII documentary that it was operating after 1930, despite what the description above says.
Photos of the Pike Theater can be seen in Ken Burns' WW II documentary “The War”.
Per second link above, address may have been 234 E. Main Street.
Vintage photograph: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30559980@N07/9394301449/
I was just reading about how Tommy Huang got smacked in the chops last year:
I was amazed that they decided to restore the Loews Kings. If that can come back after huge decay and almost becoming a Magic Johnson Cinema multiplex maybe the RKO has another round left in it.
This is one of those situations that takes thoughtful consideration on the part of involved parties. I can understand the city’s desire to see more money come out of the Jersey. But the “Friends” have contributed a lot over the years. For that they deserve respect.
Unfortunately decisions like this often don’t get thoughtful consideration. The party with the most leverage jams something through and blows the whole situation apart.
I hope the resolution here ends up better, because the community won’t win that way. My bet is that a middle ground exists. It just takes the willingness to find it.
I’ll be damned. I never knew that old funeral chapel had been a movie theater. It’s been sitting closed for a long time now. I hope they are finally going to do something with the property.
I was out this way to shoot some pool about a month ago at the Chicago Billiard Cafe. I haven’t stopped in this neighborhood in years. First I had to pay $2.00 to park my car on the street at 8 P.M. on a Tuesday. Then on my way home some gizmo on a lamp post flashed at me as I went by Portage Park. It was about 10:30 P.M. and I was going about 34-36 MPH with the flow of traffic on Irving Park. Now I’m expecting a violation in the mail and judging by the $100 parking ticket I got last month it is bound to be obscene.
I thought it looked like Irving & Austin has taken a step down in the last ten years. Having to run a gauntlet of fees to take my business out there doesn’t make me enthusiastic about going back.
There’s been some talk of locating a George Lucas museum here. So far it doesn’t seem too serious.
I remember the photo Brian put up. It showed the building after closing as a cinema and conversion.
With University of Chicago nearby this could work out well. The old 400 Theater near Loyala U. on the North Side still seems to be doing OK. As far as I know there are no other cinema options around Hyde Park.
I’m not sure how Yale is/was financed. But they might have simply been investing their endowment in things that seemed sensible at the time.
Best photo I’ve ever seen of the front. It was nicer than I thought.
Man. It looks more like a marina than a theater parking lot.
I know full well you can’t save every old theater. But this was such a nice room that it’s a shame they couldn’t have done better. I suppose if it had to be this or the Majestic they probably picked the better of the two. But I wish they had finished the job. They should have either torn the facade down or disassembled it and put it back up where it didn’t look like a stuffed deer head on someone’s trophy wall.
I’d have to say in this case the new development is better for the neighborhood. The Mode wasn’t much to begin with, it was never going to be a theater again, and it was run down when they demolished it. The condos aren’t anything special. But they are bright and new and seem to be reasonably occupied. Now if only Thorek Hospital would stop buying property and land-banking it the neighborhood might completely fill in.
Wow. A picture of the Doors at the Fillmore. Quite a piece of history. Their music was pretty good. It’s a shame those guys all burned out so young. The Rolling Stones managed not to kill themselves and made a lot more good music. Led Zeppelin managed a fair stretch too before finally meeting tragedy.
Look at those guys. Sitting on a filthy sidewalk against a boarded up store and loving every minute of it. It’s funny to look back with more experienced eyes on what you thought was cool when you were eighteen years old.
I wonder how much success that recruiter had selling people from inside a dilapidated old theater. Knowing those guys I suppose it probably didn’t matter too much.